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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25486
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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. Please help. We have had our oak wooden floor stripped

Customer Question

Hi. Please help. We have had our oak wooden floor stripped & re varnished by a floor company. They have had to return 3 times for mistakes & poor finish. The floor still isn't right & they need to return again! They have agreed to their mistakes & have given us 12 months to put this right as due to circumstances at home this is now not convenient for them to return now. They are demanding 2/3rds of the payment & have threatened that if we do not pay immediately they will find some other way of getting their money. We are not the sort of people to with hold money but we need to be sure we are protected. I hope I have made this problem clear to you & apologise if it is confusing at all. Kindest regards, Jan
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask if you have with the contractors been able to identify what is wrong with the floor and what is required to fix the problem?

Joshua :

Do I understand correctly that they have so far attempted to fix 3 times but have failed and now cannot return for circa 12 months?

Joshua :

From what you say you have not paid them anything so far?

JACUSTOMER-m3kop6qa- : Hi, they have not applied the varnish evenly, leaving a patchy surface, which they agree is ver poor. They have returned 3 times now & nibbed off the varnish followed by a further application of varnish, but sadly the problem remains & the finish is quite poor. The floor is open plan lounge, dining & hall. We, obviously totally emptied these areas of all furniture & furnishings. Due to their mistakes & therefore over running time schedule it is us who have lost the window for them to return at the moment to have another go at the floor. We had no choice but to put our furniture back in the rooms, which at some point we will have to totally clear again. We are talking of 3 sofas, several sideboards & cupboards, a large dining table plus 10 chairs & 6 sets of floor to ceiling curtains, plus all the other furnishings. This was a huge task for us to find homes for it all & we will need to do it all again. The company themselves could not come back on the 4th occasion before we needed to re-house our furniture. You are right in that no money has been paid so far.
Joshua :

Thanks. How have you left it with them for now? Have you agreed to let them try again or not yet?

JACUSTOMER-m3kop6qa- : We have agreed that they can try again & they have said they will return at some point within 12months. Each time they make a mistake they guarantee that next time it will be right.
Joshua :

Thanks. May I begin by outlining the law and then move on to practical approaches?

JACUSTOMER-m3kop6qa- : That would be very helpful thanks
Joshua :

Thanks. As you will be aware. the position here is that you have two differing sets of rights. The first set of rights you have under any warranty from the contractor which are somewhat limited insofar as that they are limited to the terms of the warranty which are probably not overly generous if in deed a warranty exists at all. I will leave this here though because of what follows.

JACUSTOMER-m3kop6qa- : Ok I'm not sure I understand but am interested in what follows
Joshua :

You have a another set of rights by virtue of your contract with the contractor which carried out the work. This set of rights are much more extensive as terms are implied into your contract by virtue of the Supply of Goods and Services Act that the work carried out must be satisfactory and fit for purpose and as agreed and any materials supplied in the course of their work must be of satisfactory quality. During the first six months, any faults are automatically assumed to be inherent as opposed to having been caused by damage or otherwise under the provisions of the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002. After the first six months, the burden of proof switches to you to show that any faults are inherent as opposed to having been caused by damage.

Joshua :

Under these rights you can insist upon a repair or replacement of any faulty workmanship or materials the contractor has supplied initially at the contractor's discretion. This right last for up to six years under the Limitation Act against the contractor though will be limited to what is reasonable given the life expectancy of the work carried out in practice. You are required to give the contractor reasonable opportunity to repair or replace. There is no specific prescribed number of times that you must must allow them the opportunity to do so however if they have failed to repair the same more than two-three times or refuse to repair the same this would usually be held to be satisfactory opportunity to do so and you would then be within your rights to instruct an alternative contractor to quote to remedy the matter and look to the original contractor for the cost or insist on a replacement boiler if they have repeatedly failed to repair the same. .

Joshua :

the position here from what you say is that you have given the company three opportunities to repair the work and on each occasion they have failed to do so. three opportunities would in almost all circumstances be held to be reasonable opportunity for the contractor to repair and at this point he would have the right to approach alternative contractors to quote to rectify the work to bring it up to your reasonable expectations. You are legally able to deduct the reasonable costs of an alternative contractor carrying out this work from the cost of the original contractor the you are required to mitigate your costs in this respect which in practice can usually be achieved by obtaining at least two or three quotes and using the cheapest. You are also able to claim any associated costs you incur such as temporary storage of furniture and the like.

Joshua :

The position is potentially slightly complicated if you have agreed in writing that the the original contractor can have a fourth attempt at repairing the unsatisfactory work. If you have so confirmed, it may be difficult to retract that offer though there would be nothing stopping you from adding reasonable conditions whereby you will be seeking costs for removal and temporary storage of your furniture and that this is the last opportunity you are allowing for repair.

Joshua :

In terms of payment, if they have carried out any work of value - in other words despite their poor workmanship, if they have need some improvement to the flooring, then they are entitled to payment for that work to date less any costs as above however they are not entitled to payment in full until the work is completed satisfactorily. If you are uncertain as to the value of any work carried out, you could ask an alternative contractor to quote for fixing the work as above and use any such quote as a basis for holding a retention against the original contractors fee - for example if the original contractors fee was £1000 and another contractor advises he would charge you £700 to fix the work, you could consider holding back £700 until the work is fixed whether by the original or an alternative contractor. YOu could also retain a further amount for any costs you may incur as above and as a contingency fund

Joshua :

ensure that any future exchanges with the original contractor are made or at least confirmed in writing in order that you have a record of what has been discussed and agreed in the event the matter were to proceed to the Small Claims Court

Joshua :

Does the above answer all your questions or is there anything I can clarify or help you with any further?

JACUSTOMER-m3kop6qa- : That is perfectly clear & very helpful, thank you very much.
Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

JACUSTOMER-m3kop6qa- : Your service has been excellent & put my mind at ease & will hopefully reduce the stress & upset this problem has been causing, thank you once again
Joshua :

Many thank Best wishes

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