Gearcross will apear in court over guarantee scheme row

Insurance company Zurich is headed for a High Court showdown with property developers Gearcross in a row over a guarantee scheme.

A homebuyer, Andrew Haskins, complained of problems after buying a new home built by Gearcross at 4 Belmont Hill, London SE13, in April 2002 according to a writ issued in London’s High Court.

The property was covered by a building guarantee scheme provided by Zurich, and Mr Haskins wrote to Gearcross in May and June 2002 complaining of cracking in the living room ceiling, dampness, and a gap in a wall, the writ says.

He made a formal claim on his policy, and Zurich surveyed the house, the court will hear. In August 2002, he sent Zurich a surveyor’s report detailing many defects which had by then been discovered, including problems with damp, the writ says.

Gearcross, of Mulberry House, Ashfield Lane, Chislehurst, Kent, should have carried out repairs as soon as possible, but failed to take steps to do so, despite requests from Zurich, it is alleged.

Mr Haskins instructed solicitors over the numerous defects, and Zurich then carried out remedial works, costing more than £171,000. Zurich demanded payment of this from Gearcross, but Gearcross has wrongfully refused to pay up, the writ says. Now Zurich is suing Gearcross for the money, less £22,500 recovered from a bank guarantee, a total of £149,093.48 plus interest.

The writ was issued by Berrymans Lace Mawer ref Suzanne Weight.