Thank you. There is a legal doctrine which is
that the courts will not enforce an illegal contract. It would therefore you
agreed to do it cheaper to knock the VAT off for cash and so that you didn't
have to put it through your books, it makes the contract on enforceable in law.
It meant that if he did not pay you, you could not take him to court!
With regard to the defective work, it is not at
all unusual, as you will be aware, (I have a considerable amount of experience
of this) for leaks to happen at some later stage and leaks only happen if the
initial work is defective. It doesn't matter that you may be a plumber or a
joiner or solicitor or whatever, you are still under a duty not to cause damage
even though, an illegal contract is not covered by the terms of the Supply of
Goods and Services Act in that you are not required to carry out the job with
reasonable care and skill.
However don't nail your flag to the mast of any
legal contract because it would be for the judge to decide whether this was
intended to defraud the Inland Revenue always paid cash for convenience. The
payment of cash is not necessarily proof that it was an illegal contract
because shops dealing cash all the time. It is unusual for £800 but I make the
point before you start jumping up and down and thinking that you are off the
Mixed in with this, to complicate the whole
thing, is the issue of negligence and for them to have a claim in negligence
there does not have to be a contract and whilst I believe that the house owner
possibly has no claim in respect of defective work, they do have a claim in
respect of damage resulting from the defective work.
To be honest, from the fact that you have given,
I would not be wanting to go to court. There is another reason and that is but
I also wouldn't want HMRC to be looking at this if the customer decided they
wanted to refer it to them because that could end up with a very expensive and
far reaching investigation.
Leaks do not happen in the ordinary course of
things and I think this is one of those things where you are going to have to
bite the bullet and fix the leak (if it has not been fixed already) and repair
The decision is yours of course but at least now,
you know the legal situation.
Does that answer the question? Can I assist
further or answer any specific queries?
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