Good day. I am currently in the process ...

Asked by William on 17-04-2024 10:29:45
Question posted in the Property Law category relating to North West

Good day. I am currently in the process of finalizing the build on my home. It is bonded and the developer has contractors which come in to do the work. Some, if not all of the contractors have issues with payment from the developer and as such there have been numerous contractors who have left. As the owner, what can I do from a legal standpoint to ensure the proper completion of my home?

Further information relating to Question:

Many owners on the estate have suffered the same lengthy delays on their homes. My home is registered with the NHBRC. Many contractors have come and gone due to non-payment from the developer and I believe they have taken up their own legal action.

Message from the Lawyer

Posted by Att. Patrick on 17-04-2024 11:52:59

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I am a practicing attorney based in South Africa and I will assist you with your question. Please feel free to ask as many follow up questions in order to clarify your question. If you have a new question, you must please open a new thread.

Please keep in mind that our discussions is for general information purposes only. Our engagement on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

As the owner, what can I do from a legal standpoint to ensure the proper completion of my home? --> I assume that you have a written building contract with the developer in terms whereof the developer has undertaken to construct your house, and you've agreed to pay for the construction? You might have also agreed to a retention amount (like 5%) of the build which will be held back until the snags have been attended to?

The answer to your question is that you have the right to demand (or require) the developer to complete your build and comply with the agreement. If the developer doesn't, for whatever reason, then you have the right to raise a dispute with the developer. 

It there is a dispute resolution clause in your building agreement then you will need to comply with this clause in order to resolve the dispute. This might include negotiations, mediations, or an arbitration to resolve the dispute. 

It sounds to me as if the developer is having financial issues and that is the reason why their contractors are not complying or completing their jobs at the various homes. 

You must however remember that the contractors work for the developer and you don't have a direct connection to the contractors. Your relationship is with the developer and in this regard what you are entitled to is to demand that the developer does everything necessary in order to ensure that your house is constructed properly, which includes hiring and paying for the various contractors to do the actual work.

Your building agreement must surely contain provisions pertaining to delays, and nonperformance, and provisions regarding letters of demand and breaches by the developer, and the best thing that you can do right now is to print out the building contract (it might be a JBCC contract) and read through it very carefully and see which of the clauses will apply.

If some of the contractors have raised their own disputes pertaining to non-payment of the accounts with the developers, those disputes (even though they might pertain to work done at your home) are largely irrelevant to you although it is an indication that the developer has got issues.

What you should be doing is sending the developer letter of demand setting out that they have been extensive delays in the construction of your property, and you are reserved in your rights to hold the developer responsible for the delays, and you are essentially demanding that the developer does everything necessary in order to complete the construction of your house as soon as reasonably possible.

Answer Accepted

This answer was accepted on 17-04-2024 12:50:59

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