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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14795
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Builder gave 6 week progam for work and has taken over 9

Customer Question

builder gave 6 week progam for work and has taken over 9 months have we a clain against him
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: hp100qd buckinghamshire
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: none just asking if we can clain compensation he has taken most of the moneys up front but keeps leaving job i think he is not paying his workers so the walk away
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: we think he has not been working under the building control from council
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 17 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 17 days ago.

Yes, you are a consumer I presume (not a business). You have strong protection under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 - so the building service needs to be as described, which includes timeframes to complete the work. And the work must be carried out with reasonable care and skill. If not then you can demand a refund. You have a good case as 9 months is way too long, when it should have been a matter of weeks. It sounds like he has acted illegally too, regarding the building regulations and the council.

You should obtain a quote from another builder to confirm the building control issue, and whether the work was sub-standard. In addition, if the work was sub-standard and will cost to remedy it, you should ask the new builder for a quote so you can add those costs to the claim.

If you decide to pursue them, I would recommend that you send them a formal letter before claim to a) terminate the contract with them and b) demand payment of your losses within 14 days and say that if they do not pay you, you will issue county court proceedings against them. See attached template as an example of what to say. Please let me know if you cannot see the letter which I have uploaded. You will need to tailor this letter to your situation. The pre action protocol confirms you should send the letter to give the other party a chance to avoid court action and to pay you. The courts encourage compliance with the protocol as it can result in a resolution without having to involve the court.

You may also want to threaten a report to Trading Standards (who can be contacted via this site: https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/contact/) and also report them to the council too.

You will need to register at https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/web/mcol/welcome so that you are ready to issue the claim in the event they dispute the claim and do not pay you. The website is very user-friendly and you would not need a lawyer to use the money claim site.

Claims with a value of under £10,000 are classed as a "small claim", so legal costs are not recoverable and the matter may be dealt with on paper by a Judge, not at a hearing. This means the parties are on an equal footing, so you don’t need to worry about legal costs if you lost.

A hearing may be necessary if the court thinks that oral evidence is required to dispose of the case.
Here is a user guide for the money claim online site: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/986795/ex50-eng.pdf

The court will then issue the claim and they will send you "notice of issue". The papers are served on the defendant who then has 14 days to acknowledge the claim - they do this by filling out an acknowledgment of service and they post it to the court. They indicate their intention when they do this, i.e. whether they admit the claim in full or partly, or if they deny the claim. If they want to defend the claim then their defence is due by 28 days from the date the court served them with the papers. The central court processing centre then sends the claim to the defendant's home county court for case management and directions - the directions will give a list of dates which you both must comply with.

If there is no settlement then the claim will be dealt with at a final hearing which takes anything from 9 to 12 months from when you start the claim - longer if the claim is higher value. You can pursue the claim yourself or use a law firm. For the hearing you can use an advocate if you wish, though it's not compulsory. I have details of law firms and advocacy agencies if you would like those. Though in a small claim you won't be able to recover their charges from your opponent. A small claims hearing is easy to do, it's quite informal and no lawyer is required.

Claims between £10,000 and £25,000 are subject to fixed costs only so if you lose then the risk is minimal. Further, the money claim website allows you to sue for an amount up to £100,000. For sums over this figure you would need to use the paper method (I have the forms if required).

You would claim the sum for the loss, the court issue fee (details of the money claim fees are listed here at page 5:https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/904862/ex50-eng.pdf) and court interest which is 8% calculated on a daily rate from the date of loss to date of court judgment.

So for example if you were owed £10,000, interest would be £2.20 per day, which you can also claim.

The site allows you to calculate the interest and add it to the claim. If a hearing is required then there is a fee for this too - see page 7 of the previous link for details. Again, that fee is recoverable if you win.

If you win then once you have the CCJ from the court the defendant has 14 days to pay in full. If they do not then it gets registered with the credit agencies after 30 days. You can also enforce the CCJ with the county court bailiffs or transfer the debt to the High Court for a small additional fee assuming the total amount owed is at least £600 and you can use the high court enforcement officers who have greater powers than county court bailiffs. The transfer fee is added on to the debt and payable by the defendant.

There are other enforcement methods which I can help with, including bank account freeze, charging order on their property (and then apply to force a sale), application to wind up the company if £750 or more is owed (if suing a limited company), apply to summons them to court for questioning, apply to bankrupt them if they are an individual or sole trader and they owe £5,000 or more - all of which can ensure you are actually repaid the money.

You may find they just pay you after receiving the letter before action – hopefully they will want to avoid litigation. If you prefer a law firm to do this for you, the following is an example and they offer a fixed fee : https://stormcatcher.co.uk/practice-areas/dispute-resolution/small-claims-lawyer-service/

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 17 days ago.

(insert their name and address) (insert date)

LETTER BEFORE ACTION

Dear Sirs,

Re: Claim for (insert sum)

I refer to the above matter. (Insert details of the dispute). The Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies here. You told us it would take 6 weeks for the works to be completed and we are now 9 months on. By any means, this is a serious delay and the service was not "as described". We therefore demand a refund in the sum of £....

This letter is being sent to you in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol (“the Protocol”) contained within the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”). In particular, I refer you to paragraphs 13 to 16 of the Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols regarding the Court’s powers to impose sanctions for failing to comply with the provisions of the Protocol.

I therefore put you on notice of my intention to issue county court proceedings against your company for my losses should I not receive payment in full by 4 pm on (insert date 14 calendar days).

Should court proceedings be necessary I will claim the court issue fee and statutory interest. Should I succeed in obtaining a judgment, same will be transferred to the High Court for enforcement against you whereby further costs will be added to the judgment sum.

I trust the above will not be necessary and I therefore look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

Yours sincerely,

(insert name)

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 17 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 17 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Thanks Jim can i set the remaining money we owe the builder against the refund to secure the money if he goes bust we are holding about £7,000.00 which we refuse to pay until the job is finished
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 17 days ago.

You can do so, yes as he is in breach of contract. And breach of the consumer laws too.