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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My son and daughter-in-law instructed a self employed kitchen

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My son and daughter-in-law instructed a self employed kitchen fitter to fit their new kitchen. They gave him full access to the house, and went on holiday for a week.
The work should have been completed within the week.
They returned to find very little done. The fitter damaged a new fridge freezer, the new kitchen units, and walked off the job.
What recourse do they have? Will insurance policies cover tradesmen employed to do work in their property?
There was no written agreement with the tradesman, only an agreement on price and completion.
They have been left with no kitchen, no sink, no electricity etc.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have they tried to contact the builder in question?


They only arrived back at 3am this morning to find this ...

Ben Jones :

Thanks. Whether the insurance will cover this very much depends on what their cover is for and the actual policy they have taken out. Every policy will be different and will protect the insured for different things so it is impossible to say whether they will have any cover under their specific policy – all the y can do is check the policy wording or call the insurer and ask them if this will be covered.

If the insurance does not cover them then they can consider pursuing the builder directly. What he did would likely be classified as negligence and they are able to pursue him for any damages or costs resulting from his actions.

As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

  1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the builder to voluntarily pay what is due.

  2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the builder must be sent a formal letter asking them to pay the damages, or at least make arrangements for repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 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 recover the money owed. 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 Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you




Thank you

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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