VIC Contract question with early demolition

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by Mike Love, 7 February 2018.

  1. Mike Love

    Mike Love Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 June 2014
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi,
    We employed a company to demolish an old house for us.
    They did the job but came a day earlier than they stated and destroyed a 70 year old gargoyle dragon that was on the top of the house, potentially worth a couple of thousand dollars.

    So they claim that their standard contract that we signed gives them "ownership" or "control" of the entire property immediately.
    we don't have an issue with that, BUT...
    (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
    We have written permission from the company stating that:
    1. we could take any items from the house that we liked before demolition
    2. that they would start demolition on the following Wednesday

    So I went to the house on the day before demolition to retrieve my dragon statue, and found that they had already entered the property and smashed the dragon along with the roof tiles. (I found broken dragon)

    So I am assuming that the written permission along with the start date gives me the right to expect my dragon to be intact up until the start date.

    I gave them 2 options:
    1. I pay the balance minus $2,000 which we argue over in court
    2. They alter the invoice now and deduct $500 and we settle with that.

    They refused, saying that they will take me to court and also claim costs from me.

    Questions:
    1. Who do you think will win if it goes to court?
    2. Which court would they take me to over $2,000?
    3. Can they also claim costs from me if they win? (I know VCAT doesn't allow lawyers or costs to be added)

    Thanks for any advice..
    Mike
     
  2. Danny Jovica

    Danny Jovica Active Member

    Joined:
    9 September 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi Mike,

    From the way you outline the facts, there appears to be a breach of contract on their part in the date and performance of the contract. Was there any provision for notice of when they will demolish the house?

    In the meantime, yes the matter appears within the Jurisdiction of VCAT, also VCAT cases will not award legal costs usually, you can call them, they are helpful and will confirm it for you.

    I would ensure your offer was in writing and you have confirmed they have received it, as you have made a good faith offer of settlement.

    The matter is not that complex, it may be suitable for mediation to avoid the hassle of going to VCAT for everyone.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  3. Mike Love

    Mike Love Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 June 2014
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi Danny,
    Thanks for the response.
    The demolition permit was obtained last November, but we still had tenants in the house then.
    We were waiting for the electricity to be abolished, and notified the company when that occurred, and told them that they could do it anytime after the Monday 13th Jan.
    They then told us via email that they would start the job on that Wednesday 15th. And I arrived on the Tuesday and they had already started.

    But their argument is that their standard Terms and Conditions gives them complete access to the site immediately! Which was from last Nov when tenants were living in the house!
     
  4. Danny Jovica

    Danny Jovica Active Member

    Joined:
    9 September 2016
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    3

    There is sufficient confusion it seems for them to have an arguable case.

    You said any time after the 13th. They acted on the 14th after originally telling you the 15th, either way after your 13th deadline. The onus was on you to make sure the house was free of your possessions by then in my view, but perhaps you might wait for some legal advice before proceeding any further.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  5. Mike Love

    Mike Love Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25 June 2014
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes. we told them it was available after the 13th, and then asked exactly when they were starting.
    To this they told us directly that they would be starting on the 15th.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

Loading...
gt;