Good morning all,
Some advice would be really useful, as we have a bit of a quandry. I have some experience in commercial dispute, but I have no real legal background.
In bullet point summary:
We bought a new build property from a national New Builder at the end of January this year.
We were given the option of purchasing lawn for the back garden with the property, however we decided this was bad value for money. We were told that if we did not opt for this, we would receive rotavated soil instead, ready for us to lay our own lawn.
We were advised that this would be done prior to legal completion.
We were then advised that this would not be done by completion, but would be done very shortly after.
We discovered the soil was in poor condition, clearly not rotavated, with a significant amount of rubble and debris. No one could reasonably argue that one could lay turf on this.
Since then we've been repeatedly appeased by being told that it will be done by March, then April, then 'next time the grounds people were on site' etc. In summary, many promises of updates, but no action materialized.
We have made it clear that this is the main snag we want prioritized. We have chased repeatedly and have a strong record of correspondence
Since then the garden has become overgrown with weeds as a result of the fact that it cannot be maintained (we have actually notice a bug infestation as a result of this overgrowth). The house builder has confirmed they will resolve this too.
During this time other properties that have completed more recently have had this work done, and the groundspeople have been back on site.
The reasons we have been given for the delay have been predominately 1) it could not be done earlier in the year due to waterlogging (I dispute this on the basis that it could have been done, and clearly must have been done for other properties at this time) and 2) the subcontractor they use has been 'very busy'
After a significant amount of informal but recorded chasing, I have written a formal letter of complaint in respect of this issue, factually summarizing the problems, the nature of our complaint (breach of contract, being misled about the timescale of the work, and enjoyment of property is significantly affected), and request of resolution (to be put back into the position we would have been had the builder performing this work by the legal completion date). We have advised we will continue to escalate and set a deadline for next Thursday for a formal response.
Really my questions are:
Are we reasonable in now escalating this issue?
What legal pressure can we apply to the house builder to get this resolved?
Can we decide to perform the work ourselves and reclaim this through the small claims court?
A specific legal point - the garden has become overgrown with weeds due to neglect. We would argue that this is because the ground was in no fit state to work on (really boggy), though they could argue that this is an issue that has developed due to our neglect. I assume the fact they have confirmed they will address this anyway renders this point moot?
I'd be really keen to get some advice please.