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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I was after some advice about an issue we have with our

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Hi there. I was after some advice about an issue we have with our builder. We bought a new build in 2014 and in 2016 after we had issues with the garden we requested the drawings for our garden and they are nothing like our garden. We’ve had levels done and they are very very off. Slopes up when it should be flat which has created a “sink” effect in the middle of our garden. Which has obviously resulted in all our grass (that we paid them extra for) damaged. I was wondering Where we stood with this? Thanks

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

What are you hoping to achieve in the circumstances?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi there. Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We have asked them to come and make the garden “as per drawing”. They are unwilling to do this (tbh it’s almost impossible considering the gardens surround ours without building retaining walls). We have had a quote from a builder and sent it to them to make it “as per drawing” and they are not offering one third of the cost. Which isn’t even the amount we paid them for our garden turf, which will need to be replaced as well

Thank you. When a person enters into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:

· Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession)

· Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time frame has been agreed)

· Provided at a reasonable cost (unless a specific price has been agreed)

In addition, any information exchanged in communications between the parties, whether written or verbal, is binding if the consumer relies on it. This will include quotations and any promises about timescales or the results to be achieved.

If there are problems with any of the above, the customer will have certain rights. If you are faced with substandard work - the trader should either redo the parts of the work which are inadequate or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to the customer. This must be done within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience. If this is not possible, you can claim a price reduction, based on the severity of the issues. If they simply refuse to resolve the issues, you can consider getting someone else to rectify the issues and either deduct these costs from the total owed to the original trader, or pursue them for any extra costs that have been incurred.

In order to resolve any problems that have arisen, it is generally recommended that the following steps are followed:

1. Collect all documents relating to the work (e.g. quote, contract, correspondence, etc.).

2. Contact the trader and explain your problem. Ask them to return to fix the issues and set a reasonable time limit for them to respond (7 days is reasonable).

3. In the meantime find out if the trader is a member of a trade association with a mediation service that can help resolve the complaint.

4. If the matter is still not resolved, write to the trader repeating your complaint and how you would like them to resolve the issues. Say you are giving them a final time limit of 7 days to resolve the problem or you will have to consider taking legal proceedings to recover your losses and any additional costs.

5. If the trader fails to respond or refuses to resolve the problem, you could potentially get a different trader to complete the work and consider suing the original trader for all or part of these extra costs. Remember that court is a last resort, however it can be a good negotiating tool because it shows you are serious about resolving this and may prompt the trader to reconsider their position.

6. Finally, make sure that you send all correspondence by recorded delivery and keep copies.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss your options in the event this matter cannot be resolved and you have to pursue them for compensation. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We have spoke to the house builder on many, many occasions and they are point blank refusing to either put the garden levels back to the drawings we signed off. And as I said they will not recompense us with the money required to make the garden right. Our garden is basically unusable as it is. So do we have the right to demand that they do this?

You cannot force them to put it right so in the end you may have to get someone else in to do this for you and hold the original builder liable for these costs. They may say they will not compensate you for this but that is not their decision - legally they will likely be liable for this. Does this clarify?

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
That clarifies perfectly, many thanks.

You are welcome. In the event you have to take this further in the future, if a party wishes to pursue another for financial compensation arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the compensation in question. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.

As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.