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retention!

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viali | 22:28 Wed 10th Nov 2010 | Law
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i am a builder who has a really difficult and rude customer who does anything but tell the truth..to cut a long story short he owes me £8,000 for material and says that he will hold this as a retention until his job is finished. i have left his job ...a big refurb and extension...and left some of my sub contractors there working direct for him...He admits he owes me the material money and has even admitted this to my suppliers.I was supplying labour and material ..i was charging a tiny weekly fee to cover my petrol and phone bill. The job we quoted for is now so totally different to the one we started as his plans and calcs were wrong and he added so many extras...months worth..that the only way we could do his work was on a daywork basis...as there is no contact and no proffit can he legally hold my material money i have paid to supply his house with material as a retention !!

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I don't see how it can be a retention as such for the whole job - this is a sum of money kept back after a job is completed (often for about 6 months) to cover against defects occurring. In my experience (admittedly quite a long time ago now) any retention was usually around 2.5 to 5% of the contract value & was set out in the contract documents.

You are no longer doing the job so have no responsibility for the quality of the work, timescale or anything else - other than in relation to the work you did before you left the job.

If you had a contract, what did it say? When you left the job was there any outstanding issue about the work you had done? What % of the cost of the work you did is the £8K? All these are questions which may be asked if you took action against him - eg by issuing a Court claim.

It may be worth you getting advice from a solicitor - who, if he/she agrees the money should be paid now, could write a letter which might produce what you want.

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