The impact of extreme weather

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Local law firm, Coodes Solicitors, says it is handling a growing number of weather-related disputes, as the UK faces more extreme weather.

The firm, which has a network of offices across Cornwall and Devon is warning people to be vigilant in checking their properties to avoid being faced with disputes or damage.

Coodes partner and head of personal disputes, Colin Hunter, said: “I have noticed that while 15 to 20 years ago, Coodes’ personal disputes team was dealing with the odd case that was linked to weather, we are now handling an increasing number of disputes arising from flooding and high winds. There is definitely a trend emerging and it is prevalent enough for us to sit up and take note.

“Most of these cases involve damage to houses or businesses that have been caused by extreme weather, such as severe rainfall or high winds.

“We are now regularly called in to advise homeowners, insurers and people who have been affected by a weather related event from a neighbouring property, usually on issues ranging from landslides and subsidence, to flooding and wind damage.

“Damage caused by weather is rarely ‘just one of those things’. The fact is that fault is often found at the heart of these cases. In many of cases in which we have been involved, the adverse impact could have been reduced or avoided altogether if the neighbouring property from which the problem emanated, whether be it a flood or a land slide, had been better maintained.

“The key is for all property owners to be vigilant: inspect exposed structures for wind damage, check drainage to ensure it is clear and well-maintained, check for evidence of ground movement and maintain any flood defences.

“The immediate results of not taking responsibility can be catastrophic. Longer term, there are serious issues for homeowners, who may struggle to insure or sell a property that has been the subject of one of these disputes or damaged by subsidence, land slide or flooding.”

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