'I'm being sued £8,000 for leaving my neighbour's back door open'

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Everybody needs good neighbours, so the TV theme tune goes, and most people do little favours for theirs from time to time.

Andrea from Kent wrote to me last week about a dispute with a resident next door after she tried to be a good neighbour – and it may make you think twice next time your neighbour asks you for help.

At the end of May, Andrea’s neighbours went on holiday for seven days and asked if she would look after their house while they were away.

This involved Andrea going into the house each day to pick the post up (so it didn’t look like the house was empty) and letting their cat in and out. Andrea had done this for them many times in the past.

On the Wednesday morning when Andrea went into the house she discovered that it had been burgled. She immediately called the police who came to the house and provided Andrea with a crime reference number.

She’s being asked to cough up for the damage [stock image]

 

The thieves had come through the back door. But there had been no forced entry, meaning the door had been unlocked. Andrea had let her neighbour’s cat back into the house via the backdoor the night before and had forgot to lock it.

When her neighbours returned from holiday she explained the situation and, of course, apologised profusely. They were very understanding and said they would make an insurance claim.

However, last month Andrea’s neighbours informed her their claim had been rejected by the insurers on the basis that the house had been under her care when the break in took place and the back door had been left open.

They then said that they expected her to reimburse them for the stolen property, which came to £8,000. Andrea’s was naturally shocked that her good deed had led to this.

She refused to pay the money and this is where the dispute began as last week he neighbours issued legal proceedings against her in the small claims court.

The court papers claim £8,000 from her and state that she was negligent in leaving the door open and that her negligence caused the £8,000 loss.

I’m not convinced this claim has any merit but it’s make you think twice if a neighbour asks you to look after their property.



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