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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I had contracted a builder to do refurbishment works on my

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I had contracted a builder to do refurbishment works on my house. Steve Hardman of SCH Build. He has left the job after I paid him in full with only 1-2 weeks left of work to complete. There is about £15k unfinished work to complete. He was already over the original deadline by 2 months.
A legal advisor mentioned I should give him a set amount of time to finish the works, and if he does not comply, I can legally then take him to a small claims court, and should charge him with the cost of paying another builder to complete the work I have already paid for.
Do you know if there is and what is the legal set amount of time I should give him to complete the works, before I can terminate the contract & proceed with taking him to court?
He has also left many jobs un-completed & to a bad standard that he has been paid to do.
I have also had a loss of earnings due to the house not being ready to rent. This amounts to approximately £10k.
He has also been paid in cash and I believe is not declaring VAT.
He has also messed around two other home owners down the road from me, and left them with works not finished & done unsatisfactorily.
A local glass & framer tradesman who Steve subcontracted to do work for another house down the road, also turned up at my house looking for him, and demanding that Steve pay him money, because Steve had not paid them for their works.
They are all unhappy with him and might be willing to be involved in being a witness or part of claim against him.
I have an original signed contract, which states the work with a breakdown of cost, which is signed by both of us. The original contract is £74,250.
I have paid him £76,150 in total, because of further works agreed on.
We were due to sign a final updated contract to complete the works, but this final contract has not been signed.
I have records of all the emails and texts we have sent each other.
He has signed for all the money I have handed him.
He has also provided me with a boiler & hot water cylinder but not given me any receipts or warranties yet.
In the contract, he has also agreed to a 25yr guarantee on some tanking, damp proof & structural work, but has not provided any paper work for this.
Another builder has suggested that I send him the official letter by recorded delivery via a solicitor so that it can be noted as being properly served.
I’m not sure whether I should include these options when I contact him:
A). Come to complete the outstanding works & contract within the set time.
B). He returns the money that I have paid him for the works he hasn’t done.
C). I take legal action & make a claim for the outstanding costs to complete the work not done.
Do you have any additional advice on the course of action I should take?
Hello my name is***** am a solicitor and I am happy to help you today. Did you have a written contract with him?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jenny, thanks for answering. I do have a written contract with him. I wrote this and we both signed it at the commencement of the works.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Attached is the front page of the agreement
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Attached are the other pages of the initial signed agreement & the final agreement that was not yet signed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you need any further information?
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you.I see the expert has opted out - do you still need help?ALex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex, Yes it would be great to receive your help & advice on this matter, with the best course of action to proceed.Update Situation:
Steve (my contractor) has texted me this morning to say that he will come on Friday, but he has texted many times and each time, doesn't turn up.
I plan to send him an email today explaining that i will:
Give him an opportunity to complete the works within 21 days, otherwise i will proceed with terminating the contract, and will 'seek advice' (implying that i will get legal advice).
I will say that i will get other builders to come and quote for the unfinished works, and would seek reparations for this from him.Please let me know.Thanks,Charlie
Do you know his name and address (you dont need to give it to me)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, Yes i have his name and address.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He lives in Surrey.
Ok. You need to write and ask that he starts the work within 7 days or say you will seek a Court order. Make sure you send this recorded delivery.If he does not then you can apply to the Court for an order to make him carry out the work.You would need to complete forms N1: N16a: Court would list the matter down for a hearing and decide whether to make an order requiring the works to be done. If the Court does and she refuses this may be contempt of Court which he could be warned, fined or sent to prison.The other option is to get the work done by someone else and then sue him for the cost. This method is set out below.You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund of that extra cost within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: or by completing form N1 and take it to your local County Court.The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alex, thanks for the information.
Can i send this information by email initially & see if he responds, because he is still corresponding with me in this way?
Yes you can. But make sure you get a delivery email receipt.Does that clarify? Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think i should initially just give him an opportunity to confirm that he will finish the works without mentioning that i will take legal action, so as not to scare him away? Instead just use the wording that 'i will seek advice'.
Give him one last chance. You can use the word seek advice yes. No issue with that at all.Does that help? Alex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** be able to help draft a rough email of what i should write to him initially, in order to get him to come back to finish the works within a given time, otherwise i will terminate the contract and seek advice & reparations for the cost of hiring another builder to finish the works?It's difficult for me to formulate a coherent message because of the varying outcomes & options i need to give him notice of.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Perhaps i should include something relating to the fact that he has said he will come on Friday at 10:30am (although this makes me think he will not come with his workmen, because they always arrive at 8am for a workday).
Sadly I am not permitted to do that as it is considered as being instructed.But in short you simply say this:I have taken advice and I am asked to give you one last chance. You have said that you will come on Friday at 10.30am. However if you do not then you are on notice that I am to take further action to secure the return of monies spent or to get the work completed.Thats it. Does that help? Alex
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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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