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  • FIRST POST
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 10:58 AM
    • 21Posts
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    Fast_ted
    Who is building contract with? Legal advice needed
    • #1
    • 10th Aug 18, 10:58 AM
    Who is building contract with? Legal advice needed 10th Aug 18 at 10:58 AM
    Hi,

    I signed a building contract for an extension to my home. The builder walked away with a large amount of money and leaving substandard works which needed to be redone. The contract is with a limited company that never existed however the builder had another limited company which is now dissolved. The builder is arguing my contract is with his other company despite no mention of this company on the contract documents. Who is my contract with - the person who carried out the works or his other company?

    Thanks,

    FT
Page 1
    • AndyMc.....
    • By AndyMc..... 10th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    • 2,569 Posts
    • 1,585 Thanks
    AndyMc.....
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:08 AM
    Think about this one and what you want to achieve.

    Unless you sue the individual and he has the means to pay, I can!!!8217;t see you getting the solution you!!!8217;re after.
    Hi there! Weíve had to remove your signature. Please check the Forum Rules if youíre unsure why itís been removed and, if still unsure, email forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 11:14 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    • #3
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:14 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:14 AM
    Hi Andy,

    It is a small claim so I believe he has means to pay but need to determine if I have a legitimate case to go after him. All contract docs were in the name of the company that didnít ever exist so canít see how there can be a contract with his other (now dissolved) company and therefore in my mind the contract defaults to whoever carried out the works but hoping someone with a bit more legal knowledge can confirm this.
    • the_r_sole
    • By the_r_sole 10th Aug 18, 11:34 AM
    • 2,615 Posts
    • 1,444 Thanks
    the_r_sole
    • #4
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:34 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:34 AM
    Who signed the contract and what details are on the contract? You can only really pursue the contractor detailed on the contract for that, but sounds like a good bit of deception if the company never existed - usually one of the requirements for a contract is for the contractor to provide a certificate of insurance.
    A lot comes down to due diligence but you have someone very dishonest here so you really need to pay for proper legal advice on whether you can go after the individual rather than the contracted party imo
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 10th Aug 18, 11:37 AM
    • 8,699 Posts
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    EachPenny
    • #5
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:37 AM
    • #5
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:37 AM
    It is a small claim so I believe he has means to pay but need to determine if I have a legitimate case to go after him. All contract docs were in the name of the company that didnít ever exist so canít see how there can be a contract with his other (now dissolved) company and therefore in my mind the contract defaults to whoever carried out the works but hoping someone with a bit more legal knowledge can confirm this.
    Originally posted by Fast_ted
    On the face of it, your contract was with an entity that didn't exist, you were induced to enter into that contract by an individual who was at best misleading you, and potentially seeking to defraud you.

    Arguably your claim needs to be against this individual, since my rough knowlege of contract law is that you cannot have a lawful contract with an entity which doesn't exist.

    Did you do any checks on the non-existent company before paying them? (not intended as criticism, but possibly relevant in any action you can take to recover money).
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 11:44 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    • #6
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:44 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:44 AM
    Hi r_sole,

    We contacted a architectural firm for a quote and they passed it on to their !!!8216;Construction Manager!!!8217; and the contract was signed by the builder with the company name the same as the Architects but Construction Ltd rather than Architectural Services Ltd at the end. The insurance documents provided did have his other company name but assumed this was an abbreviation (for example if company was All Building Construction Ltd other company was ABC Construction Ltd). We essentially thought we were in contract with Architectual firm who had been going for 17 odd years but have no legal connection to them. The builder was also using an fake name as when we googled his real name we found out he has been ripping people off for years. I have a case management review with the court but need to prove contract is with the individual, as he carried out the work and signed the contract, rather than his other company which he has liquidated.
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 11:49 AM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    • #7
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:49 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Aug 18, 11:49 AM
    Hi Penny, as my last email to r_sole we did check companies house but as couldn!!!8217;t find the company we assumed (!!! out of me) the construction company and architectural company were one of the same (they shared an office so had the same address, logo etc). He was essentially using the architects as cover to look like a legitimate company - his other company had only been trading for 6 months when we signed the contract. Using a false name, false company etc points to fraud but after speaking to police because he did carry out some works it is seen as a civil matter
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 10th Aug 18, 12:46 PM
    • 8,699 Posts
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    EachPenny
    • #8
    • 10th Aug 18, 12:46 PM
    • #8
    • 10th Aug 18, 12:46 PM
    So is the architectural company genuine then? Is there any link between this company and the builder?

    Who are the principals at the architectural company? Are they qualified and registered architects? What was your contract with them, and did it state that they would provide advice/recommendations for procuring the construction contract?

    It would seem odd for a reputable architectural company to introduce you to a builder with a known (poor) reputation.

    You may have grounds for complaint to the architect's professional body, and possibly a claim on their professional indemnity insurance.... but I have a horrible feeling where that is going....
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 1:01 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    • #9
    • 10th Aug 18, 1:01 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Aug 18, 1:01 PM
    Hi Penny,


    The Architectural Company is genuine and still going (don't think they are registered architects as architectural services). I never had a contract with them but found them recommended on the mybuilder site for construction works. I think they wanted to extend their service offerings and got in tow with the builder without realising his past (he was using an alias). So they were able to offer construction services (albeit through a seperate company) and he was able to get in with a reputable company.


    Still can't seem to get an answer though. I think the contract should be with him personally as all contract documents, emails, quotes etc were in the company name that never existed. In my view I thought I was entering into contact with a reputable company. As the company never existed I think the contract falls to the person who carried out the work and can't see how he can say it was his other company that I wouldn't have gone into contract with as only trading for 6 months. The first I heard of the other company name was when he walked away from the job and we started receiving letters from his solicitor.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 10th Aug 18, 1:14 PM
    • 1,234 Posts
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    teneighty
    In my opinion if the company never existed then the contract is null and void.

    This then takes you to a possible verbal contract and the usual test to determine whether a contract exists and who the parties to the contract are. What are the names on the quote (offer) who did you contact to agree the quote (acceptance) and most importantly who received the payments (consideration)?

    The fact that you paid them and they built an extension suggests the objective test on intention to create legal relations (contract) is a given.
    Last edited by teneighty; 10-08-2018 at 1:17 PM.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 10th Aug 18, 1:15 PM
    • 8,699 Posts
    • 23,676 Thanks
    EachPenny
    The Architectural Company is genuine and still going (don't think they are registered architects as architectural services). I never had a contract with them but found them recommended on the mybuilder site for construction works. I think they wanted to extend their service offerings and got in tow with the builder without realising his past (he was using an alias). So they were able to offer construction services (albeit through a seperate company) and he was able to get in with a reputable company.
    Originally posted by Fast_ted
    Did you pay the architectural company anything for their services? The principals of that company should be named somewhere - their website, correspondence, even a plate by their front door. You need to find out who they are and whether they are qualified.

    Who did the design and got approvals (planning/building control) for the extension?
    I think the contract should be with him personally as all contract documents, emails, quotes etc were in the company name that never existed. In my view I thought I was entering into contact with a reputable company. As the company never existed I think the contract falls to the person who carried out the work and can't see how he can say it was his other company that I wouldn't have gone into contract with as only trading for 6 months.
    Originally posted by Fast_ted
    I might be wrong, but I don't think you'd make this stick. The contract (if there is one) is with the person or organisation named on the contract you signed (or otherwise agreed to). If that entity doesn't exist then you probably don't have a lawful contract of any kind.

    The situation you are in is similar to an internet banking scam where someone contacts you and tells you to deposit some money into a particular bank account. In this case you've been given bank details to 'pay' for building work, but in reality the destination of the money was not what you thought it was.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 10th Aug 18, 1:16 PM
    • 26,116 Posts
    • 70,538 Thanks
    Doozergirl
    The contract definitely isn't with the company that did exist but has been dissolved because

    a) they aren't named
    b) they do not exist

    My gut would say that it has to be with him as the individual because the company doesn't exist either, which makes him a sole trader. People can be John Smith t/a Bob the Builder but it's definitely John Smith being employed.

    You need more informed advice than mine, but it *definitely* isn't who he says it is.

    Edit: posted before I saw what Each Penny wrote and that makes sense. You have a contract, it just isn't necessarily that particular one. But it's still evidence of the intention to create 'a' contract existing between you and him. And the work and payment - to whom? is evidence of one existing.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 10-08-2018 at 1:35 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 1:27 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    Hi teneighty,


    Yes I agree, although not sure it goes to a verbal contract as everything is there on paper but he was using a different name (both company and his). The names on the quote are the false company name but all correspondnce was with him (albeit using an alias) and he signed the contract and carried out the works. The fact he carried out the works and was paid (consideration) as you say confirms there was a contract. The more I think about this the more confident I am that he can't push it to the other (not named) company as there is nothing to suggest I wanted to create a contract with this company and if he was under the impression it was with the other company why was it not named on any contract docs.


    Appreciate all the responses, gradually putting my mind at ease!
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 1:30 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    Doozer,


    Thanks. The other company did exist when the contract was signed but as my last reply it was not mentioned on any contract documents and I wasn't even aware of the company until receiving letters from his solicitor. If he carried out he works and took the money surely any contract is with the individual. The bank details he gave me were for the false company name so it could have been going straight to his bank account for all I know.


    I have a case management meeting with the small claims court in early september but feel I have a strong argument now to put before the judge.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 10th Aug 18, 1:35 PM
    • 1,234 Posts
    • 893 Thanks
    teneighty
    The attempt to shift responsibilty to the second company was always a non starter.

    However, exactly how payment were made and to who will be the key. Clearly you didn't make payment to the non-existent company nor the individual using an alias (unless you paid in cash...please tell us you didn't pay in cash)

    The use of an alias will not necessarily protect the builder, you just need to show on balance of probability that he is the person known as "X".
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 1:35 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    Penny,


    We didn't pay the archictural company for anything as we drew the plans ourselves and got another architectural technician to provide construction drawings and we got planning approval.


    I think we do have a lawful contract as there was offer, acceptance and consideration. He provided the offer we accepted and paid him for the work. So there was clear intent to form a contract as the company doesn't exist I would think by default it falls to the person who carries out the works as teneighty's post.
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 1:41 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    Hi teneighty,


    No we didn't pay in cash, paid via bank transfer to the non existent name but assume the bank didn't check this if sort code and account number was correct?


    I have an email from the Architectural company (who have also been a victim in a way as their name has been muddied) stating his real name and that he uses a number of aliases to avoid people chasing money. I also have screenshots of his real name facebook profile and will get the structural engineer and steel fabricator (who also didn't get paid despite me paying for steel) to confirm that he was the person carrying out works at my property. So hopefully that shouldn't be an issue but the guy has been doing this for years by all accounts. He was made bankrupt in 2008 and still carried on regardless.
    • teneighty
    • By teneighty 10th Aug 18, 1:53 PM
    • 1,234 Posts
    • 893 Thanks
    teneighty
    The next important thing is does he have any assets in his real name or under his alias. First thing to check is Land Registry title documents for any properties where he lives. If he has a history of dodgy dealings he has probably got any assets well hidden.

    If he does have property then get the MCOL in pronto, I think you can include aliases in the claim and when you get judgement slap a charging order on his house.
    • EachPenny
    • By EachPenny 10th Aug 18, 1:56 PM
    • 8,699 Posts
    • 23,676 Thanks
    EachPenny
    The attempt to shift responsibilty to the second company was always a non starter.
    Originally posted by teneighty
    I suspect this tactic perhaps has more to do with attempting to avoid criminal liability (perhaps on solicitor's advice). Inducing someone into a contract with a non-existent limited company is a serious issue - making out that the name on the contract was an error and the 'real' contract was with a dissolved company might have been his defence if prosecuted for fraud or other criminality in relation to the contract.
    "In the future, everyone will be rich for 15 minutes"
    • Fast_ted
    • By Fast_ted 10th Aug 18, 1:57 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    Fast_ted
    Hi teneighty,


    He does own his property with his wife (I have land registry docs). What is MCOL?


    Thanks!
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