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Bad builder, delays & final payments

Posted by Sailor 2-192599 - Created: 14 years ago
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5 replies (Showing replies: 1 to 5)

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Posted by Sailor 2-192599 - 14 years ago

Dear St George and Pearson 5,

Many thanks for both your helpful replies ... I've been out at work all day and this evening, so I've only just seen them.

After reading both your contributions we have definitely decided to hold back the final 20% payment until the job is finished. We also plan to speak to the Chambre des Metiers and to the notaire we used for the purchase to ask their opinions about the next step to take.

We'll let you all know how we get on ... this type of situation seems to be a  common problem, so may be of interest to others.

Sailor 2  

Sailor 2

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Posted by pearson5 - 14 years ago

Just to add my tupence worth - I'd say keep your 20% for now - we twice kept 10% waiting for completion on some work - and they never came and finished ! So we never paid the last 10% but the work wasn't finished either - make it worth their while to finish.

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Posted by stgeorge-182529 - 14 years ago

It seems to me to be cut and dried !

I wasn't suggesting that you'd found the builder through the Notaire - he was merely there to make sure the transaction goes through - almost as an intermediary, but a legal necessity, with a slice of the fees going to the State - in this case the French Govn. The Notaire is representing  the buyer to prepare the Title deeds and all the rest of it which I won't go into here - however, having taken a certain amount of your funds, you should have no hesitation in making a RV with his Cabinet and asking his advice - normally this service( unofficially) would be free, although the 'builder problem ' is outside his jurisdiction - thus he will be able to recommend his ' mate ' down the road - the Hussier, or even a lawyer if necessary , to sort it all out for you.

The Hussier is almost like a bailiff but with greater powers - he ( or she ) can be a very usefull weapon in our quest not to get ripped off - the Hussier accompanied by the Gendarme is ' big guns' stuff for the French, but as it appears to be too late for the Registered letter you are obliged to stand your ground with this threat ! Especially as the Contract includes the TVA - indicating there's no 'funny business' !!

 

stgeorge

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Posted by Sailor 2-192599 - 14 years ago

Dear St George,

Many thanks for your detailed reply ...

We have taken care so far not to fall out with the builder completely, as we feel this would be counter-productive, given that our main aim is to get the renovations completed as soon as possible. 

However, in anticipation of possible problems this week, when we plan to refuse to pay the full amount of the latest stage payment bill, we wanted some confirmation that our plan to retain the final 20% of the bill until satisfactory completion of the works is acceptable and normal usage in France. From your posting this appears to be the case.

With regard to the rest of your posting: we didn't actually find the builder through the notaire who dealt with the purchase, but would like to know how the "huissier" system works, in case we need it.

Our builder has a SIRET no. and the contract includes TVA of 5.5%.

Many thanks once again.

Sailor 2

 

 

Sailor 2

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Posted by stgeorge-182529 - 14 years ago

A loose ended contract like this should normally specify 40% on start up , 40 % about two thirds through and the final payment on satisfactory completion - anyway thats how it was the last time I dealt with a builder ! Getting a finishing date is open to flexibility and putting penalty clauses in would just be counter productive. It also depends on how much the last '20%' is - if it's quite an important sum, it certainly isn't in the builders interests not to complete the job. Normally you should have also asked to see his Insurance in the event he was unable to finish due to illness/injury or other unspecified problem.Bit late for all that now !

I think in this particular instance, especially if you've fallen out with the builder, you should consult the Notaire you did the deal through or a recommended ( by him ) Hussier as soon as possible to come in and 'constat' what percentage has been completed, in the presence of all parties concerned - this way it's official and shows the builder that you're prepared to pay for the job but not to be messed about indefinitely !The Hussier will look with an unkindly eye on any 'dodgy business' !!

Was the contract Hors Taxe ? Did you take out your own apartment insurance when you purchased and has the Insurance Company been informed of these problems ? You pay him in total before he's finished - you'll never see him again - and then what will you do - try and sue him ?

I can assure you that it is no different in France than anywhere else in Europe when it comes to builders , except here you have relatively cheap legal backup without having to go to court !

On reflection , a simple Registered letter ( in French ) to the builder and/or his company expressing your intentions to see a Hussier may have the desired result - I've always found this method works a treat !

Good luck

 

 

 

stgeorge