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Disputes & Claims Under Home Building Act

Building Dispute

If talks with the contractor under a residential building contract fail to resolve a dispute, then you should put your dispute in writing to the contractor before approaching the Office of Fair Trading ("OFT"). The OFT may try to negotiate a settlement failing which appoint a building inspector to prepare a report.

The building inspector will investigate, prepare a written report and may make a Rectification Order if the building work is incomplete or defective or the contractor has caused some damage. The Rectification Order requires the contractor to complete the work in the manner necessary and by a certain date.

If you are not happy with the Rectification Order, then you may lodge a claim with the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal ("CTTT"). It is always best to retain a solicitor to advise you with respect to your options in particular where your claim for defective building works exceeds $25,000.00 given the complexity of these matters.

Building Claim

An application can be lodged with the CTTT for a claim under the residential building contract. If a claim is lodged, then the Rectification Order will cease to have any effect. Non compliance with the Rectification Order may result in disciplinary action against the contractor.

The CTTT can reject an application if the matter has not been investigated by the building investigator,

CTTT

CTTT has jurisdiction to hear claim of up to $500,000.00. If an action involving a home building contract has been commenced in the Local Court or the District Court, it can be transferred to the CTTT.

A copy of the building contract and any reports should be attached to the CTTT application. CTTT may give due consideration to any reports provided or may appoint an independent expert to advise the CTTT.

CTTT is able to make the following orders:

- order a party to pay money to the other
- order that a party is not entitled to any money
- order a party to do specified work

Claim under Home Warranty Insurance

Home warranty insurance is required for all residential building work exceeding $12,000.00. This insurance provides protection from incomplete or defective work where a contractor becomes bankrupt or insolvent, dies or cannot be located.

The insurer now has to give a written decision within 90 days from the date the claim was lodged, if not, the insurer is deemed to have accepted liability. If you are unhappy about the insurer's decision, then you must lodge an appeal with the CTTT within 45 days of the decision.

Submitted by:

Manoj Narsey - LAC Lawyers

Manoj Narsey is a solicitor employed at LAC Building Construction Lawyers Sydney. He has nearly 12 years experience as a lawyer.




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