TIME NEEDS TO BE OF THE ESSENCE
IN A CONTRACT FOR SUPPLY OR SERVICE
You know the classic scenario....you decide to get the builders in, and at the beginning of your relationship as you the “consumer” and the builder as the “service provider” everything is lovely. However as the works commence and continue, usually, and more often than not the relationship becomes strained or stressful due to things like delays in completing the works, increased costs or damage etc. So is it truly the case that the consumer just has to accept the situation or can you use the law to negotiate better timelines and costs from the service provider or even obtain compensation? The answer is no - you simply don’t have to accept the situation. Arm yourself with Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and try to negotiate and reason with your service provider.
So what can you do if the work is taking a long time:
If they are taking longer than it was agreed for them to carry out the work then this falls under Section 14 of the Supply of Goods and Services Act – ‘Time and Performance’. The Act states that the supplier will carry out the work within a reasonable time. However, this is only the case if a timeframe has not been agreed or forms part of your contract with your supplier. This term is called making “time of the essence”. If you have agreed a date for the works to be completed and it is not met then you are well within your rights to terminate the contract if that deadline is broken if you so wish. However, If you have not agreed a deadline and the works elapse past what is considered to be a reasonable time, you are not entitled to terminate the contract but you are now in a position to agree on a new date i.e. making time of the essence for the works to be completed by the supplier. If this new date is not met then and only then can you terminate the contract.
Consumers do agree a date with your supplier or service provider as it places you in a better position.
This published article may contain information of general interest about current legal issues, but does not give legal advice