Jennings v. Taverner. 1955.
Queens Bench Division (Jones, J). May 2nd, 3rd and 11th 1955.
This case deals with the sale of a property damaged by subsidence which was caused by water abstraction by tree roots.
In 1950 the plaintiffs husband purchased a bungalow from a builder while it was still being constructed. When they moved in they noticed cracks appearing in the kitchen walls. A number of Poplar trees were located in a cemetery some 30-40 feet away from the back of the bungalow and these were implicated as being the cause of the subsidence damage. In 1953 the plaintiffs solicitors wrote to the owners of the trees who responded by cutting down the trees and destroying the roots. In 1954 the plaintiff pursued damages against the builder for breach of contract in which they alleged that the bungalow was unfit for habitation.
The plaintiff claimed that the builder neglected to build the bungalow with reasonable skill and care and failed to take any precautions against damage to the bungalow from soil shrinkage from the adjacent Poplar trees which any competent builder should be aware of.
Judgement was awarded to the plaintiff.
In his judgement statement Jones, J, said "I think that the obligation imposed on the defendant by the implied warranty was not confined to building the parts of the building that are above ground but extended to the provision of proper foundations for the bungalow, and the building of these foundations in a place where they would not settle or collapse. The defendant assumed the responsibility of supervision of the siting and building of the bungalow without the assistance of an architect, and failed to provide the plaintiff's husband with a bungalow fit for habitation......".