fencers broke sewerage line
Hi. I had new fencing done on my property recently. The company has smashed through and put a post through the sewerage line. I have had to pay for two plumbers and yarra valley had to be called out because the damage is to their pipes. They will be sending out a plumber to fix their pipe in the next few days. And they will also need to remove part of the fence. I am wondering what my options are. The terms & conditions state
“The client shall be responsible for: Obtaining all necessary permits and approvals for the works set out in this quotation. Client is responsible for establishing where all underground cables, gas or water mains, sewerage, telephone lines or other like services or utilities which may be in the vicinity of the works area. The Client must disclose this information prior to works commencing and agree not to hold Xxxx Fencing & Landscaping P/L liable for any resultant damage to the above-mentioned services or utilities. Unless otherwise provided for in this quotation, the client shall provide a clear unobstructed work area not less than 400mm either side of fence line. Failure to do so may result in an additional charge of $50 per man hour to remove such obstructions. The Client is responsible for identifying the boundary and agrees to advise Xxxx Fencing & Landscaping P/L of any changes to boundary position prior to works commencing. Any survey pegs must be clearly visible. The Client agrees to provide access to power and water for works to be completed.”
“Approval of Terms & Conditions is required by both Client and Neighbour before your fence can proceed.”
The neighbours and I have not signed this document.
Will i be held responsible for cost of all damages? Or have the fence people been negligent in their duties? I havent spoken to the fencers yet about it but they have not been very nice to deal with so far so iam assuming the worst.
Look forward to a response from someone who would be able to help should things not go well.
I’m not a lawyer first up.
From my understanding, a contract can be entered in to in many ways. a) Verbal, b) Gentleman’s handshake, c) Giving access to your property to commence work, d) Paying a deposit or paying for the completed job and e) Signing a quote, an acceptance email or letter, even an email responding to a fencer’s email such as “we can start Tuesday week at 7am” and you reply ok, see you then.
It all comes down to what is known as “Estoppel” and “Estoppel by Convention” and “Quantum” and “Quantum Meruit” – well, this is what the fencing company’s lawyers would most likely use as a defence and would have a very good chance of winning.
If you look up the legal words above, you will see what I mean.
If you proceeded to a state Tribunal, the costs are low and if you lose, rarely are legal costs awarded against you (i.e.: you have to pay the fencing contractors legal costs if represented by a lawyer) whereas if you went to court and lose, costs can be awarded against you and they may be considerable (e.g. $3500). If you win in court, you can claim costs if represented by a lawyer.
Always get proper legal advice.
(An Unqualified Legally Disabled Person That’s Wheelchair Bound & Eats Law For Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)