Rights re. deposit paid for delayed building work

kcmg_bsk Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
Hi everyone, I was looking for some advice regarding delays in building work. 

We bought a house late last year which needed extensive renovations prior to moving in, and since then we've been living elsewhere and been paying for storage, so obviously we'd like to move into the house as soon as possible. 

One of the key things has been getting the bathrooms sorted (or at least one bathroom), and we were quoted by a building company back in spring, which we accepted and paid a £6k deposit (30%) in May. 

The work still hasn't taken place due to various delays, which we've been mostly understanding about. However, we finally arranged to get the bathrooms done next week. 

The snag was that some asbestos was discovered in our house in the summer, which needed to be professionally removed as it was the worst kind, and it was being done at the same time the bathroom works were to be done. Thus we asked the builders if they could delay by 3 days as the removal company and HSE said they strongly recommend no other contractors be present whilst the work is carried out. In response, the builders said that the next date in the diary is late November (which is understandable, but obviously far too late for us). So we went back to the asbestos company on the same day and asked them to make an exception as we really needed this work to be done on time, and they said yes they can make it safe for the builders as long as they agreed to the risks. 

When we got back to the builders immediately after hearing that (this was only a few hours from the original delay request them), they said we were so 'adamant' that they couldn't work they moved us to November (without confirming with us if that was OK). We have since asked if we can just ask them to do the large bathroom we have booked them for in November, and we get the small bathroom done by someone else so we can at least move in. They said we'd lose our deposit if we do that as we'd agreed the work for both bathrooms with them (as far as I know no materials have been bought yet). 

So we are now facing many extra months of costs of living and storage, and it seems a bit wrong that we paid a deposit back in May and will not get any work done until at least November, especially as we were not asked once if we would approve the delay. Luckily all our messages are on a whatsapp conversation so the timeline is recorded. 

Do we have any rights to ask them to move the deposit to the larger job? (or even get a refund given the delays and extra costs this is causing us). 

Note that these guys are well reviewed on Checkatrade (so I don't think they are cowboys) and at the moment we want to maintain a good relationship, but we also don't want to be a pushover. 

Thanks for any help! 
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