Disputes with tradesmen and builders are often the bane of a landlord’s, homeowner’s or tenant’s life – and such disputes can escalate quickly to the point where essential repairs may be left unfinished or action for debt recovery by one or both parties is launched.
It is always advisable to obtain a written contract or agreement and a quote from a tradesman or builder, as this can be invaluable in resolving disputes.
If an estimate is obtained, it is exactly that – but a quote should be an accurate figure for how much the work will cost. It is always as well to be aware that in some works, there will be unexpected issues that might increase the cost, but a reputable tradesman or builder should be able to provide an accurate quote of how much this will add to the final bill at the time the issue arises, rather than tack any additional cost onto the end of a bill without warning.
However, what can a customer do if they feel they have been ripped off – or a tradesman has racked up the bill unreasonably, done a poor job, or left the job unfinished?
The first step is to bring to the attention of the tradesman or builder any problem as soon as it arises. Continuing with the works as they are in the hope everything will turn out all right is not advisable, as it may be harder to put things right at a later stage.
If an initial conversation does not prove successful, put your complaint in writing to the tradesman or builder – state the facts clearly and what the dispute is about eg defective work, works not done to schedule, costs spiralling unexpectedly.
In cases where a tradesman is uncooperative, confrontational or walks off site, it is time to seek expert legal advice – and it is best to do this sooner rather than later, as tradesmen and builders can get tied up with another job very quickly, or simply disappear.
Duncan Lewis property litigation solicitors have extensive experience in advising on disputes with tradesmen and builders – and can advise at any stage of a dispute on how best to take the matter forward, including mediation and dispute resolution, or pre-action correspondence and whether a contract with a tradesman or builder can be terminated, and any recoverable monies.
If works carried out are defective, dangerous or unfinished, Duncan Lewis can advise on making a claim against a tradesman or builder, as well as reporting defective or dangerous works to regulatory bodies such as the Health and Safety Executive.
In cases where gas work is involved, such as boiler installations, it is vital to contact a Gas Safe registered engineer as soon as possible, to make sure that the work is safe and rule out the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In cases where a building has undergone structural works, an urgent survey might be needed to make sure the building is safe. Our property litigation solicitors can advise on this.
Duncan Lewis is able to advise on a wide range of tradesmen/builders’ disputes, including disputes involving:
For expert legal advice on property litigation and Tradesmen/Builders’ Disputes, call Duncan Lewis Property Litigation Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.