Q: We engaged a builder to supply and install a conservatory last year. The work was completed, and payment was made in full. However, shortly after the work was completed, we discovered water leaking through the roof. We sent the builder photos and videos of the problem immediately and asked him to come and fix it, but he refused. As winter was fast approaching, we had to ask someone else to fix the problem. Can we claim the costs of this back from the original builder?
A: The Consumer Rights Act 2015 obliges traders to carry out work with ‘reasonable care and skill’. If a trader fails to comply with this obligation you are entitled to ask them to put matters right, within a reasonable amount of time. If they have been given the opportunity to rectify the issues but have refused to do so, and you have incurred costs engaging another trader to fix the problem for you, you may be able to recover those costs from the original trader, providing the costs incurred are reasonable.
Before issuing court proceedings, both parties to a dispute are expected to take reasonable steps to resolve the dispute. If you cannot resolve matters, you should send the trader a letter of claim before any legal proceedings are issued. The letter should state your name and address, a summary of what has happened, details of the compensation or remedy you are seeking and how you have calculated that amount. Also include quotes, receipts, details of any experts you have instructed to assist in your claim, and a response deadline (usually 14 days). You should state that proceedings will be commenced if you do not receive a response by the deadline. The letter should refer to the Practice Direction on pre-action conduct under the Civil Procedure Rules.
Instructing a solicitor with dispute resolution experience to assist you with reaching a settlement can be advantageous.
This question has been answered by Sarah Talbot, a Senior Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194