Collateral warranties originate in property law – and disputes involving collateral warranties can arise if one party to an original contract fails in its duty of care to a third party who is not a party to the contract.
Third parties are offered protection under the Contracts Act, even if they are not a party to the original contract.
In commercial property or residential property it is usually the occupier of a building (eg a tenant, occupier or homeowner) to whom the collateral warranty extends from the professionals (eg a builder or contractor) who may be party to the contract. In such cases, there may be a defect in a building or property which the original party(ies) to the contract have a duty of care to correct, for example.
A dispute involving a collateral warranty usually involves the appointment of a professional adviser to ensure that the occupier, tenant or homeowner receives what is known as “full comfort” – the advice, expertise and services of the property professionals who were party to the original contract in the construction of the building or property, so that the problem can be put right.
Duncan Lewis property and housing solicitors can advise on cases where collateral warranty is involved – including appointing professional advisers in a case and preparing a claim in the event the defect is not put right.
Property cases may involve expert witnesses such as surveyors, structural surveyors, damp experts, etc. Such cases may be complex and involve proving that materials used in a development or property were not suitable or were substandard, for example.
In some cases, the contractor of a development may also obtain collateral warranties from its sub-contractors or other professionals involved in working on the development – for example, electricians, roofing contractors or interior designers.
In these cases, collateral warranties disputes may also involve negotiations or disputes with insurers over the extent of insurance cover if a claim is made by a third party for a defect in a property.
The Duncan Lewis property department has considerable expertise in preparing such cases – and can advise at any stage of a matter where collateral warranty may be a factor and where a claim for damages might be possible.
In such cases, it is advisable to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible, as such cases can be complex and seeking advice early can prevent escalation legal costs or litigation.
For expert legal advice on contract law and Collateral Warranties Claims, call Duncan Lewis Litigation Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.