Buying a house - the importance of paperwork

11 April 2016

Jonathan Duncan, Solicitor, highlights the importance of accurate paperwork when undertaking property renovations and improvements.

Buying a house - the importance of paperwork

It is almost impossible to escape the deluge of television programming focused on the renovation and improvement of residential property.  However, it is something that we will all do at some point, whether it is an interior redesign, the installation of a new kitchen or more substantial building works such as the addition of an extension.   Any of these tasks will usually be undertaken with a mixture of excitement and, it should not be forgotten, a degree of  trepidation given the often high levels of expenditure required.

It is absolutely essential that any projects undertaken are underpinned by clear and accurate paperwork confirming the contractual terms between the parties including, amongst other things, what exactly is being done, the timescale for the work, and who is actually carrying out the work.  A detailed schedule of the likely cost should be also agreed  including, if relevant, the Value Added Tax (VAT)  component.  Regarding the latter, at a current rate of 20%, it is a not inconsiderable sum.

Unforeseen complications can often emerge and/or the requirement for additional works generally, and in this event it is also imperative to have written confirmation as to how exactly the project has changed and what the implications are for the original cost estimate and the associated VAT.

Whilst it is not pleasant to focus on a worst case scenario, it is not difficult to imagine the type of dispute that might arise, such as the non payment of a sub contractor or completed work which is far removed from the householder’s original idea of what was being done.    Were this to happen, the first point of reference will be always be to examine what exactly was agreed.  Detailed paperwork will greatly assist all concerned and provide the basis for firm and concise legal advice.  

In the absence of contemporaneous  paperwork, it may prove difficult to resolve any dispute without the involvement of the Courts.     This is a course of action that can involve a great deal of expense without any certainty of the end result and which should be approached with caution.

Jonathan Duncan is a Solicitor with Worthingtons, specialising in personal injury litigation, including asbestos related disease claims, clinical negligence and road traffic accidents. He also has a keen interest in Criminal Law, and represents clients in both the Magistrates' Court and Crown Court.

Should you have any queries in relation to the above or to any other matter Jonathan can be contacted by completing the form below or by telephone 02891811538.

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