Home / Insights / Blog / It’s not my fault may not be enough

It’s not my fault may not be enough

It’s not my fault may not be enough

A recent case* has highlighted the need for all property owners and occupiers to ensure their insurance is up to date, adequate and valid. The fact that damage was caused by a fire spreading from the next door premises did not mean the owner could rely on their neighbour being liable.

The basic principle is that a person is only liable for damage to his neighbour’s property if he intended to cause the damage or it arose from negligence, but a long standing House of Lords case ruled that a person could be liable even if not negligent or at fault if they use their premises for an unusual purpose and brought an exceptionally dangerous thing onto them which then escaped and caused damage to other property.

The recent case concerned a fire caused by an electrical fault in premises used to store tyres. The fire spread quickly and could not be put out before destroying the adjoining property. Overturning a county court decision, the Court of Appeal decided that the tyres were not exceptionally dangerous and the fire had not been brought onto the tyre storage property, so the relevant conditions for liability had not been met and the owner was not liable to the neighbour for the damage to the adjoining premises.

*Stannard (t/a Wyvern Tyres) v Gore [2012] EWCA Civ 1248

IBB has one of the largest real estate groups in West London and the South East, with expertise in commercial real estate,residential development, real estate finance, construction and real estate dispute resolution. Contact a member of the team by visiting the relevant service page, call us on 08456 381381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.