I run a small bakery business from rented kitchen. Around 7 months ago there was a small fire in the kitchen which happened due to the appliance failure. No one was hurt, fire alarm went off, fire brigade arrived and got the situation under control. The kitchen suffered some smoke damage which I subsequently thoroughly cleaned. Several months went by and all of a sudden in October I started to get demands from the board of trustees who manage the entire building for the call out of the fire security company (unrelated to fire brigade) who manage their fire security. The bill includes call out charge and cost of replacement of one smoke alarm sensor. I must admit the fire really shook me and it took me a while to mentally recover from it. Being a responsible business owner, I decided to review my insurance policy and changed to a different provider with better cover. Therefore, when the demands started in October I couldn't even claim on my insurance as by this time I had already changed the provider. Also, in the six months preceding the incident I had never seen this fire security company in the building doing any checks on the above mentioned fire sensors, which begs the question of how does one know if the sensor was damaged by the smoke caused by the fire or if the sensor was actually not functioning at all at the time of incident? With this in mind I requested the trustees to provide me with the detailed fire report requesting confirmation of the fire sensor failure. The trustees refused to provide this and have now threatened me with legal action if I do not pay the bill within 14 days.
Can anyone with legal experience please shed a light on where I stand with this. If I am accountable, I'm happy to pay the bill. But I am really upset about the way they have handled the situation leaving me in the position of having to pay out of my own pocket when it all could have been prevented by claiming on insurance at a time of incident.
Pass this to the company that insured you at the time of the fire if they are alleging that is what caused the fire sensor to fail. The fact you are now insured with someone else is irrelevant. You can still claim on your old policy.
Also - join the FSB. They have a free legal advice line and various support for small businesses, for exactly this kind of situation. It's about £180 a year and gives me lots of peace of mind - even if I've only called them about maybe 4 issues in 8 years.