Ask an Property Solicitor. Get an Answer ASAP.
Hi, I employed a tradesman to do various jobs for me on a rental property - put up 4 kitchen wall units, re- felt a roof, put up some plasterboard. He started work, and every job he tackled he has done badly or totally wrong eg of the 4 wall units 1 has a hole drilled through the door, 1 has the wrong colour side, 1 has the coloured side just stuck on the side. The roof which he told me was finished has around 15 tiles missing from the front, the guttering is still on the floor, the ridge tiles are like a switchback and are not pointed correctly, and the tiles at the back have 6" gaps between tiles. The kitchen is now reduced to a bomb site. He has not been here to work since 20th June, without any explanation or contact. He also constantly requested money, and told many lies. I had agreed (stupidly) to pay for some roofing materials up front (£310), and when a kitchen unit needed replacing, he said he'd get it as he'd get a better deal, and asked for £100 for that. Altogether I paid him £550. I have receipts for this money. He left some of his tools here having asked me to keep them under lock and key - and i dismantled the tower scaffolding and put it inside too as I was going to be away. I complained to the estate agent who had recommended him, and he called him in to tell him to sort it out or give me my money back. The tradesman came round to my house (the rental property adjoins my house) after that and asked for the scaffolding to do another job. I refused to let him have it, pointing out that he had not yet finished my job and had disappeared for weeks - he did not ask for any of his tools. I asked him for the kitchen unit and worktop I had paid for, and a few days later he dropped it round and drove off quickly - because he had brought an oak unit and my kitchen was white so he knew I'd be cross. The unit was new and had someone else's name on it. I have now sent a recorded delivery letter asking for £430 back (I allowed £120 for the worktop and some work he did on the plasterboard). I've also said he will have to pay for the cost of other people to put the building right again. I am obviously losing rental income too as I can't get a roofer in for 4 weeks. What is my position re the tools and equipment he has left and not asked for? The value of them could offset part or all of what he owes me- and if I went to the small claims court, it would save the bailiffs a job. At the moment it isn't an issue as he asked me to keep them under lock and key which I have done, and I haven't seen him, but I need some advice on the whole saga. You (wingrovebuyer) gave me some great advice once before. I have since discovered that this chap has done similar poor work, lied, got money for nothing etc from other people too.
Yes of course.
OK Thanks. So how do I proceed?
He should get the letter tomorrow or Tuesday (quoting sale of goods and Services Act) - do I have to do something in order to exercise a lien - like put something in writing?
Also is it reasonable to ask him to cover costs of the other people who will have to put this right, and the loss of rental income - because i will be seriously out of pocket by the time I get the place right again?
Hey thanks for really clear advice. In the original letter I sent, I said I wanted £430 back, and that I would be claiming extra to for the other things. Should I wait for his reply to that (I gave him 7 days) or just gather the information and write this more detailed letter that you have outlined?
OK will get on to that straight away.
Do I need to wait for this to be resolved before I proceed with the work ?
I have taken photos and also got the estate agent round to see what it was like so I guess that could be used as evidence if necessary.
In terms of the equipment - so far I have not touched anything - apart form bringing the scaffolding in, but in order to get the work finished I am going to have to move things - and possibly bring them into my house. I am concerned that he may say I have taken things etc - as he is less than truthful. Should I photograph everything in situ, before moving it - should I make a detailed list? Could you advise? Thanks
Thank you. One final question for tonight. When you say a letter of claim - is that a specific legal format or just a letter laying out all the the points that you specified earlier, and claiming money back, expenses etc?
Thank you Alex - very helpful and clear. If it's OK with you I'm going to sleep on your replies, just in case there's something I've missed and then will close the question tomorrow.
with best wishes
Thanks for replies - and apologies for delays in getting back to you - have been very busy with my bees - and preparing the affected building for the new tradesmen. I have been waiting for quotes from other tradesmen, so that I can do the letter. I have those now so will insert that info and send it off.
I'll get that sent off now, and include the receipts, photos etc.
I am not sure I will ever get anything from him - even through the small claims court. I guess he may just say he has no money.