Dodgy roofer payments & building regs - help!

Looking for some advice on a roofing situation/potential legal issues (sorry in advance for the MASSIVE essay):

Just before Christmas I contacted a roofer that my neighbours had recommended - I needed to fix a leak coming from between my chimmney breast and the roof. (I'd previously paid a roofer to fix it but that first guy did a poor job, basically put glue on the lead and it was still leaking).

These new roofers came round and agreed on £650 to sort the issue and were happy to start there and then. As the work began, they knocked on the door and explained that it was a bigger job as the old felt had been installed going down (not up) so they'd in fact need to remove a larger area of tile and replace crumbling felt, some batons and then sort the leadwork. That would cost £1500. It was December 21st and I had a hole in my roof by this point as the work had begun so I didn't have time to look around or consider my options/other quotes. Having already spent a fortune on roofing over the last 5 years, I didn't like the idea of spending that much on just a patch repair and the guy offered me a 'deal' to basically redo the whole roof for what seemed a good price (still in the thousands of course) - I'd get new felt on the whole roof, new batons and new tiles for half the roof (weirdly my roof had been half retiled in the past at some point so half my tiles were good to reuse but half were eroding and needed replacing). I asked the roofer if I'd need buildings regs and he told me no, they definitely weren't needed.

They started the next day with scaffolding up first thing and 7 roofers all working on the roof at once. This meant they finished quickly and the roof was done before I went home to family for Christmas. It was such a big job that I started doubting his claims about buildings regs so spoke with the council and another roofing company. They all told me in no uncertain terms that I absolutely did need buildings regs approval and that the guy had lied to me.

I mentioned the building regs to the roofer on the day after they did the work and, since it was almost Christmas, I suggested that I pay him the second third of what I owed him (I paid 1/3 deposit upfront) then the final chunk once I'd got the building regs approval sorted. I thought this was reasonable as it covered me if anything came up during the B.R. inspection of the work but also meant he'd have money to pay his guys for their work (he hadn't even messaged me to ask for payment at this point as it was less than 24 hours since work was carried out). As far as I was concerned, the job wasn't finished until buildings regs were carried out.

The roofer instantly got very threatening and nasty over whatsapp, saying that if I didnt pay him the full amount immediately, him and his guys would come over while I was away over Christmas and they'd remove all the materials from the roof. This left me in such a state and was clearly done as an intimidation tactic as he knew I was on my own. 😟 At no point had we discussed that the invoice had to be paid in full within 24 hours and, like I said, he didn't even ask for payment until I mentioned that he'd been dishonest about getting B.R. approval. I was also suspicious that he knew something wasn't right with the work he'd done as he clearly wasn't happy that it was going to need to be inspected.

Worried that I'd come home to no roof, I was forced to hand over more money, despite it being less than 24 hours since the work was carried out and despite the job being incomplete (no building regs done). After a long and very nasty exchange over whatsapp, I managed to get the roofer to agree that I'd pay him another chunk of cash (more than the third I'd suggested) and that he'd get the final payment (1/6 of the total) would be paid once I got the buildings regs approval from the council (which would mean the work was finally all completed and signed off to the right standard).

After New Year, I had an initial visit from the council buildings regs inspectors (who pointed out that the roofer hasn't actually  fixed the leaking chimmney issue) but said that to do the full inspection (external and internal), he needs the roofer to remove his scaffolding to give the council access. He said that to fix the chimney leak, one of the roofers would have to be inside and one of them outside on the roof, pouring water over different parts of the leafing until they located the leaking areas and fixed them.

I explained all this to the roofer to keep him posted and he once again became threatening. He stated that if I didn't pay him in full, he wouldn't remove the scaffolding (but, like I said, the chimney was STILL leaking and the buildings regs inspection couldn't go ahead with the scaffolding there so the job still wasn't complete and I wasn't happy paying him the full amount when I didn't know if it would pass the building regulations inspection).

I'd left things at that, without replying to his last angry message as I needed to work out what to do next - possibly seek legal advice?

I came home from work on Friday to discover that whilst I was out, the roofer and scaffolders had climbed up the scaffolding at the front of my house (without ANY permission), climbed over the roof and into my back garden where they then must had removed the scaffolding from the back of my house and reinstalled it on my neighbours property (who were having roofing work done). Whilst I was glad to have half of the scaffolding gone, I was absolutely livid that these guys had accessed my property with NO PERMISSION or warning. I could have called the police but, not wanting to make the situation worse, I refrained from doing so.

I then received a message from the roofer saying that the 'chimney is sorted' and I needed to pay him the last 1/6 if I wanted the scaffolding gone. But again, we'd agreed before that I'd pay him this once I got buildings regs approval (and couldn't get it with his scaffolding there!)

He cannot possibly have fixed the chimney leak without having checked it internally (as stated by the council inspector) either.

In my opinion, the roofer clearly knows that the building regulations guy is going to find some issues there, hence the nasty behaviour and demands for money pre-inspection.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how I deal with this guy and get the situation resolved? Do I bring up the trespassing/unauthorised access to my property? The whole thing has made me so anxious and stopped me from sleeping.

As I keep saying to him, he'll get paid the final installment when it's got the buildings regs (and if he'd been honest with me up-front about getting building regs, they would have inspected it whilst he was doing the job so he wouldn't be having to wait!!)

Update: As I was writing, I've received another message from him saying he will come round and remove £1000 worth of roofing if I don't pay him now.

Help! What do I do?! I've not even replied to the latest messages as I'm also dealing with a family bereavement.


  • Nobbie1967
    Nobbie1967 Posts: 1,444
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    I’ve only skim read, but first thing to do is call the police on 101 non emergency and report a threat of criminal damage with details of the roofers responsible, then inform the roofers that you have done this. This should warn them off from doing anything stupid. This is now a civil dispute and they need to go through the courts for their money.
  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 4,994
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    edited 15 January at 5:45PM
    I've had my fair share of bad luck with roofers and roofing jobs but what you are going through is absolutely horrendous. I'd contact your local council's trading standards tomorrow and explain to them the whole story. That behaviour is truly despicable. 
  • mexican_dave
    mexican_dave Posts: 237
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    I agree, contact both the police and trading standards without delay.
  • He's just messaged to say he's coming around tomorrow to take the roof off 😟

    I'm meant to be at work! Will try calling the police now buy I'm worried they'll just say it's a civil matter...
  • HampshireH
    HampshireH Posts: 4,395
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    If the same roofer is doing your neighbours roof I would pop round and let them know what is going on too.

    They don't want the same issues once this guy starts the work
  • stuart45
    stuart45 Posts: 3,799
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    It can be criminal damage to start ripping materials off a job.
  • If the same roofer is doing your neighbours roof I would pop round and let them know what is going on too.

    They don't want the same issues once this guy starts the work
    It was actually those neighbours who recommended him to me! He did some patching up for them a year ago and they've got another leak now so have called him back. I've kept them posted about my issues over the last week or 2 but fortunately they've not had any problems yet (although their work is a much smaller job and doesn't need building regs which seems to be the roofer's main issue). Also there are 2 people living there, one of whom is a guy so I don't think he would try intimidating or threatening them (only solo females!).

  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 4,994
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    You know what's a sign of a bad roofer? One that can start work immediately. 
  • stuart45 said:
    It can be criminal damage to start ripping materials off a job.

    This guy doesn't seem to give a s***. He announced that he'd "never had to get buildings regs in 10 years as a roofer" which is worrying and also said he didn't give a s*** if he got fined for not getting the regs done. Charming.
  • Swipe
    Swipe Posts: 4,994
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    @missanonmse I take it the roofer didn't follow through with his promise to remove the roof? What did the police and trading standards have to say?
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