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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71273
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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the beginning of last october we hired a gardener to block

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the beginning of last october we hired a gardener to block pave my sons front garden and to level and relay new turf in the back garden . the man said it would take him 2 to 3 weeks to complete and the cost of £2,300 . he started all good but after the first week he was stalling and not turning up at all some days . when he did turn up it was for only 2 hours then disappeared . we have paid him £2100. upto now as he kept asking for more cash to get materials etc . he has 3/4 completed the block paving and left it uneven and apart from cutting the back lawn in preperation to start doing that part he has done nothing there . we keep chasing him up and there is always a excuse . everything from just had to get away for a week . to having a bad stomach to the vans exhaust fell and then the suspension went on it to the last excuse now he hasnt got a van but trying to sort another one out . he has not been anywhere near the property since beginning of december for 2 hours .we have now given him a deadline for next monday and told him we will be looking to be reimbursed for some of the money we have paid him and taking legal advice . he promised us beginning december there was only 3 days work left to do and it would be done before christmas . but still nothing . do we have any legal rights to claim money back ?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I presume that you didn't agree time was of the essence?
But you did agree the price and you haven't asked for additional work?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

HI Jo . we did say we wanted it doing asap and he said he could start that next week and it would take 2 to 3 weeks to complete . we asked for additional work to be done . a picket fence along the side of the block paving which he did while his son carried on with the block paving . he charged £300 for the fence and work to be done which we paid up front

I presume the new increases do not have anything to do with those additional charges?
I am offline for about an hour and a bit now but I will pick up later if that is OK?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i am sorry i dont understand . we paid the extra £300 for the fence panels and work 3 days before he did the work to enable him to get the fence and cement and post . so that was covered and the work for that done . other than this extra £300 for the extra work there has been no increases .

that is fine thank you .

No but he is now asking for more money that has nothing to do with this £300?
It is just a random increase that he has added with no discussion with you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

he has not asked for any extra money but has not turned up to carry on with the work to complete the block paving or even started the back lawn

I thought you said he was asking for more cash to get extra materials?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

no whenever he has asked for the cash for materials we have paid him but he has just stopped coming to do the work

If that is not cash related then he has no good reason. If there were a dispute over cash then he could say that you hadn't paid. If it is just that he has walked off the job, probably because he has other things to do, then he is liable.
If you didn't use the term 'time is of the essence' originally then he isn't yet in breach though. You haven't agreed a time period. You need to write to him making time of the essence. I realise that you have already written to him but it is important to respond in a particular way. You need to give him a specific date to complete which is on the generous side. You don't want him saying that you made unreasonable demands. You also need to make clear that time is of the essence using those exact words. Also, you need to make clear that if he does not complete you will instruct another to finish the work and sue him for the cost.
If that does not succeed then you are able to instruct another and sue him. You do need to try to find a reasonably priced builder as you are under a duty to mitigate your loss but that really only means getting three quotes.
Then just write to him asking him to pay the difference. He will not but it is important to write.
If that gets nowhere then sue him here
on the facts that you mention you will succeed.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you Jo for your advice , please can you just clarify one thing . we will write again to him tomorrow as we told him in our last email he had another 2 weeks to get the job completed which would be by 19th january but because we did not put in time is of the essence do we now need to give him another date to get it done by and what would deem as a reasonable time as he has been promising to get it finished since the beginning of december ? also is it advisable to mention we have sort legal advice ?

I would give him another two weeks.
It is over generous but then he cannot argue that you didn't give him long enough which is the main defence to these things.
You can mention having sought legal advice. Strictly speaking, this isn't legal advice. This is a question and answer site for entertainment purposes. Legal advice would be seeing a high street advisor with full vision of the case. Also, it never really adds anything to the communication. My own view is that I don't like to include things like that. It just sounds like an empty threat. Truth is, he either intends to come back and complete but he has just found something else he would rather do right now or he doesn't. If he doesn't then the fact you have 'taken advice', which ultimately could be an unemployed volunteer at the CAB , is not going to make him change his mind. The important thing is that you have sent this letter and given him the opportunity to put this right not whether or not he actually does it. It is the act of sending that will put you in a position to claim and protect you from costs.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you for your advice Jo . we have written the gardener a letter which he would have got by last thursday . as we have still not heard anything from giving him since beginning of last december to get it finished and still not heard anything we decided to give him until this friday to get the work completed . which we put in writing using the key words time is of the essence as you advised . we still have not heard anything from him so taking it he obviously is not going to get the work completed by the date specified . so how do we go about taking this further ? he has taken the bricks he didnt use even though the brickwork has not been completed so as we have paid for them has he got any right to keep them or can we insist on having them returned to us to enable the new person to get the job completed . ? and what is the next step to getting the ball rolling to take him to court to sue him ?

many thanks


Find somebody else to complete the job, send him the invoice and if that fails sue him here
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you

No problem.
All the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you for your advice it has been a big help . we will now wait and see what happens . he has not been in touch and the time period is up this friday so he obviously is not going to do the work .

best wishes


All the best
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you

No problem.