Can a property owner be held liable for a neighbor’s melted vinyl because of the sun’s reflection off of their windows?

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Can a property owner be held liable for a neighbor’s melted vinyl because of the sun’s reflection off of their windows?

I’m a home remodeler and I have an elderly couple as one of my longest clients. The house next to them was recently re-sided with vinyl. During this past summer the siding wilted due to heat. The management company that owns the house is trying to make my clients pay for half of the cost to replace the siding. Citing that the reflection of the sun off of their windows melted the siding. Is the management company just trying to take advantage of my clients or do they half to pay for half? The houses are both 3 stories and only about 25 feet apart.

Asked on December 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, the home with the windows is NOT liable to the homeowners with the vinyl. Liability depends on fault, or doing something that is, at a minimum, unreasonably careless, if not reckless or even deliberately harmful. There is nothing unreasonable about having windows, and no liabilty for sunlight reflecting off them. If there is any liabilty, it is on the manufacturer of the siding, for creating siding that can't stand up to sunlight; or to the management company or its developer/builder, but choosing the wrong or inferior grade of product.


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