NFU Mutual ordered to pay £100,000 costs after lawsuit against tenant fails

Royal Courts of Justice

A scientist who faced “the most expensive Christmas of her life” after being handed a £128,000 bill for a leaky pipe in her festive holiday cottage has triumphed in a legal fight with insurers.

Wealthy physicist, Galina Govina, rented the £1m four-bedroom thatched cottage in West Grafton, Wiltshire, to use for “holidays and weekends” through estate agents, Hamptons, with her partner in December 2009.

But when a cold snap led to pipes bursting and “severe flood damage” in the £2,600-a-month cottage over the festive season, Miss Govina was told to pay a six-figure sum for repairs - even though they were covered by an insurance policy.

The 54-year-old, whose main home is a £3m flat in Prince Consort Road, near the Albert Hall in Kensington, was “very surprised” when she received a bill for £128,089.71 for the damage from her landlady’s insurance company.

Insisting she was personally liable for the loss, NFU Mutual claimed she had breached her tenancy agreement by failing to leave the heating on in the cottage, and that she, as a short term tenant, did not come under the umbrella of her landlady’s policy.

But ‘generation rent’ can breathe a sigh of relief after Mr Justice Holgate today ruled against NFU Mutual and hit the company with a £100,000 legal costs bill.

To read the full story and analysis of the verdict, subscribers click here.