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Thread: Trouble with a roofer! What are my legal rights?

  1. #1
    tedward's Avatar
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    Trouble with a roofer! What are my legal rights?

    Last week had a local roofing company (one man band) fit new fascias, soffits and gutters to half my house as well as a new upvc ceiling to my porch area.

    In short the job is a joke, gutters drain to the stops ( wrong way) gutter clips not screwed to fascias badly bowed ceiling section, gutters leak at the joints.....The list is endless. It's an embarrassment.

    The guy came up claiming job done and demanding full payment, I declined, he offered to make all the faults right in an hour! I said based upon his work I didnt want him to attempt to rectify the work.

    Long story short he accepted £400 to cover meterial costs and I have said that is all I'm willing to pay. So payed the £400

    He has been up and ringing pestering for he outstanding money (drunk). He says he will peruse me for the rest of the money, where do I stand legally and what should I do to firm my case up my end?

    I am going to have to get another company up to rectify his shoddy work, it's all very frustrating and inconvenient!

    Many thanks for any help.
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  3. #2
    Jameze's Avatar
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    From my point of view (there might be someone here with more experience that will come along and answer for you but in the meantime...)

    Basically, the law governs the standard of quality (workmanship and materials) under The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. As this is statute law, this will imply terms into your contract (even if not expressly written)...

    4 Implied terms about quality or fitness.
    (2A)For the purposes of this section and section 5 below, goods are of satisfactory quality if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking account of any description of the goods, the price (if relevant) and all the other relevant circumstances.
    13 Implied term about care and skill.
    In a contract for the supply of a service where the supplier is acting in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the supplier will carry out the service with reasonable care and skill.

    From what I can gather reading what you've said about the quality of his work, I'd say that he is in fact in breach of contract (taking into account the implied terms above). If the work is not to a standard that you'd expect an ordinary competent contractor to perform then he hasn't worked with reasonable skill and care.

    I'd say that you're well within your right to withhold some money if you think the work is defective. Withholding payment all together would no doubt be breach of contract, but paying an acceptable amount (to cover the cost of what's been done so far) should be acceptable. What you will have to do though is formally write to him with a list of all the defects that need to be put right and give him a timescale in which to complete them - you might even wish to get a Chartered Surveyor to pass the works off once complete. If he refuses to do this then you should be within your right to seek another contractor to rectify the works (and in extreme circumstances you might even have a case to pursue damages if he's done such a bad job that it's made more work for you).

    Make sure you're clear that if he doesn't finish the works to a satisfactory standard (with reasonable skill and care to that of which you'd expect an ordinary competent person to) then you intend to hire another contractor to complete the works on their behalf, deducting the cost from the remaining balance of their original contract sum.

    The key for me is giving him the chance to rectify the works (and importantly making him aware of the poor quality of his work) before you rescind the contract, otherwise you may find yourself in breach of contract yourself and end up paying him the full amount regardless. Keep copies of all correspondence (letters, emails, quotes etc).

    Sorry for the essay - it's easy to go off on one! I hope it's of some use to you.


    Note: I've gone under the assumption that you have some form of contract in place (be it formal or an accepted quotation). Even if it was just a spoken agreement you will still have an oral contract (easier to prove the terms of if you have witnesses - a partner etc that was present at the time). I've also assumed that you don't have any form of retention agreement in place for defective works. Just one more thing to note - if your contract is essentially a signed quotation of his or something similar, just quickly read through his T's & C's on the back (assuming he has any) and make sure he's not slipped anything in that could trip you up. Even if he has, you might find yourself protected by the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. Lastly; good luck!
    johnnythepie and tedward like this.

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    Chugger

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    Trouble with a roofer! What are my legal rights?

    I personally would of given him a chance to rectify it, what's the worst that could happen? Might have surprised you. But as you're beyond that, I would try and remain civil with him, take photos of his work Incase he does try take you to small claims court (unlikely), and hope he's not the type to pour thinners on your car.
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    You did the right thing by only paying for the materials. Take photos of the works and keep a record of conversations,, even if its just written notes.
    You should give him the chance to rectify the works to your standard, not his. Then if you are still not happy mutually agree a cost for his time. If he wants to take you to the small claims court in your favour you will have the evidence of the shoddy work and also that you gave him a chance to rectify it and also tried to reach an agreement regarding paying him for his time.
    If the work is really that bad and you have to get someone else in to rectify it, you may stand a chance of getting the costs back from the original builder.
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    Thanks for the replies so far. I'm waiting for the weather to subside and I will be heading outside to make a video recording of all the bad work and then I will document all the faults and make a note of all his coming and goings.

    I know in the eyes of reasonableness I probably should let him attempt a rectification but honestly the job is a joke, the guy is simply not up to this or any job.....I honestly could have done a better Job myself....blindfolded!

    He trapped up last night wanting me to sign some crappy letter detailing the outstanding money, I refused and sent him on his way. I'm pretty sure he's chancing his arm.

    The annoying part is he's demanding full payment and he's only ( badly) completed half the work! Eg he was supposed to re point the wet verge but this was never done. Reset and bed in the ridge tiles was never done, the list is endless.

    Every time he drives up to have a go, he's drunk ( can smell the ale seeping out of him). I'm going to report him for drink driving if he does it again.
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    I go to great lengths to research my tradesmen, using the local trading standards list of recommended companies, or Trust a trader site.

    After reading this, I now know why.

    How some people make a living is a mystery.
    Live your life as if nobody is watching you.

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    I am lucky that I work in the construction industry and know a couple of very good local builders, they used to do a lot of work for me in the past so I know the standards of their work, which is high. In this industry you are only as good as your last project, if anyone lets you down it reflects on you. I have no hesitation in recommending either of the two very good builders I know.

    If anyone in the Midlands area wants work doing just let me know and I will pass you their details.

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    Chugger

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    Trouble with a roofer! What are my legal rights?

    Same, I work with loads of people in many trades and have got a nice collection of reliable people who I can trust. Failing that, most people just go off recommendation which is why I don't bother advertising
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    I'd have reported him for drink driving straight away, and harrasement while you're at it.

    I assume he's not one of them "travelling types"??
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    tedward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beanoir View Post
    I'd have reported him for drink driving straight away, and harrasement while you're at it.

    I assume he's not one of them "travelling types"??
    No he's not, although it's hard to avoid them as most have decent looking websites and landlines, so you don't know until they turn up with a transit pickup and give you the blarney.

    Regarding the drink driving I have put all my complaints in writing including requesting he doesn't turn up at my house drunk and piloting his van!

    Not heard anything for a couple of days now but I'm sure he will pop his head up again annoying us!
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    In short as already said, you should give him resonable time in writing to rectify his work at no further inconvenience to yourself. If you dont allow him this oppertunity the courts may frown apon you with holding payment.

    However if you report the drunk behaviour to the police and get a crime reference number that should be reasonable enough grounds to get a new contracter to complete the work, and then persue the shoddy builder later through your own claim.

    Key is to record a log of all events and send any letters recodred delivery. get the police notified immediately.

    good luck.
    tedward likes this.
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