You would not believe how common this question is.
A friend of mine is in exactly the same situation. The building
inspector has given a list of 19 points which need resolving some of which are
quite meet major and yet the builders solicitor says that the job is completely
finished and that his client should be paid.
They have continually refused to reply to correspondence but are
very good at sending their own out. They have continually avoided our suggested
meeting is on site and have ignored the building inspectors letter which is
Basically, the builder has lied through his teeth to his
It has already been to court once because the solicitor served the
statutory demand and it was quickly thrown out and costs awarded against the
builder. It is still rumbling on now and the work is still not finished and my
friend is still not paid and he will not pay.
This matter that you have is a plain simple contract dispute and
any solicitor who deals with contracts can deal with this for you.
I hope you don't mind me saying what you were to a great extent
the author of your own misfortune because you asked him to quote for more work
before the existing work had been finished. A fatal mistake.
I think you were probably trying to entice him to finish it
dangling the carrot of more work but the mistake you made was letting him start
it. He sounds like one of these half job builders who never finishes anything
before starting a new one.
I don't know whether the builder is on site or not but you need to
find out how much it is going to cost to get the job completely finished for
which he quoted. You then give him the option of finishing it or going to
Although you may not have receipts for what you paid him I do hope
that you did not pay him in cash. If you did pay him in cash, I hope it was not
money from under the bed and that you do have proof of the money coming out of
If you didn't pay him in cash and you can prove that any element
was done for cash because it was going to be a bit cheaper because he would not
the vat off, you have a possible defence to any actually brings that it is a
fraudulent contract intended to defraud HM RC under the law should not assist
in enforcing an illegal contract. It is a small legal point but can be
extremely successful if you can prove the job was done for cash and he was
pocketing the cash.
I assume that the legal letter on his behalf was sent by a
solicitor. Whatever you do, do not ignore it. Please remember that you will be
in exactly the same situation that my friend is in where the builder will of
lied through his teeth to the solicitor and given his own glorified pink tinted
spectacle version of events.
You need a complete breakdown of everything that is outstanding.
Everything that has been invoiced.
Every single solitary penny that has been paid and how it has been
Then you go back to the builders solicitor (at the earliest
opportunity) and tell him what is outstanding, what has been paid (send
receipts) and telling the builder to get it fixed or you will get it fixed
elsewhere and sue the builder for the costs
it is not a do-it-yourself job from what you have told me quite
simply because you need the power of the solicitor's letter to fight fire with
fire. There is no legal reason why you cannot do it yourself but I would urge
you not to.
I am off-line now until tomorrow but will pick this up then at
some stage. I am off and online all weekend spasmodically
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