Estimate for Property Damages...

by Sonny

I am a small business owner, running a grocery and meat shop in Massachusetts. My neighbor, also a small business owner, contests that a leak from a freezer in my shop resulted in mold damage in a portion of the wall in her side of the shop. I volunteered to have it fixed. The cost estimate provided by professionals who I contacted for this kind of job provided me with an estimate in in the ball park of $2000.

However, the neighbor shopkeeper came up with her own estimate of around $4,100, which included replacement of a sink and some other items that were unaffected by the leak.

Do I have any options for recourse? Should I stay adamant and say I am willing to repair the damage by a licensed professional (plumber) of my choice at the estimate he provided, or should I acquiesce to my neighbor's estimate and pay the amount to have it fixed in the manner she wants?

At this point, if possible, I would not want to hire a lawyer. Thanks for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Estimate for Property Damages...":

Sonny (MA):

Your problem is not unique. Many times business owners, neighbors, and others who share a mutual space (whether tangible or not), come into conflict. The way these issues work themselves out usually inures to the benefit of both parties. Like anything else the best compromise is one where each party feels they have given up something.

What we are going to suggest is the manner in which similar issues normally are resolved in court. If you can reach the same results without having to go to court you will be ahead of the game.

Here is what we suggest...

You should speak with your neighbor store owner. Suggest she get 2 estimates and you will do the same. Once you have the 4 estimates you will agree to take the average of the 4 estimates and agree the averaged amount will be the amount you will agree to pay.

The old expression “You can pay me now, or pay me later” applies here. For you, it is better to pay now.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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