Home improvement nightmares

by | 5 November 2017 | Citizens Advice, Sherwood

Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark is warning residents to be on the lookout for rogue builders as the national charity reveals it has helped people with 40,000 problems related to home improvements in the last year.
As people have work done on their homes, the top three most common building problems people report are:

  • Complaints about the quality of the work carried out
  • Building work being unsafe or faulty
  • Disputes around the cost of the work

People contacted Citizens Advice wanting to know how to resolve their home improvement problems and their rights around refunds and compensation. Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark is offering top tips on how to avoid problems when hiring someone to carry out work, and your rights if things do go wrong:

  • Get references or recommendations — you can either get recommendations from people you know, or use a website that rates traders, or ask for examples of work they have carried out in the past.
  • Find out if they are a member of a trade body — trade bodies have codes of practice and can help resolve problems if things go wrong.
  • Get a written quote — not an estimate, and be clear about what the quote covers. A quote is legally binding and the builder can’t change it without a good reason.
  • Get a written contract — this should cover timing, payments, who will pay for materials and subcontractors, and what exactly is being done. If you can, you should pay in stages rather than upfront.
  • Keep copies of receipts and your written contract as evidence, as well as photos of any problems which arise.

What to do when things go wrong
Ask the builders to fix the work; Ask for some money back; Complain in writing; Look for an approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme; Consider taking the builders to county court.

Citizens Advice
Sherwood & Newark
5 Forest Court, New Ollerton NG22 9PL
Drop-in sessions:
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30am to 2.30pm
Adviceline: 0844 411 1444