Jandakot tiler Jose Antonio Arguijo, as the sole director and secretary of Plaza Tiling Pty Ltd, has been prosecuted by the Building Commissioner for offences the company committed when carrying out renovations in Rockingham and Como between June 2011 and March 2013.
In the Perth Magistrates Court on 2 March 2016, Mr Arguijo was ordered to pay fines of $66,700, compensation totalling $109,865.16 and costs of $1,718 after being found guilty in his absence to 14 charges under the Home Building Contracts Act 1991.
Plaza Tiling entered into two contracts with the owners of both the Rockingham and Como properties between June and November 2011. The contracts were valued between $29,000 and $157,250 and were for bathroom and tiling renovations at two houses on each site. In relation to each of the contracts the court found the company had:
- failed to ensure the contracts set out all the terms, conditions and provisions in writing, and were signed by both the company and the owner;
- entered into contracts that provided for it to receive a deposit in excess of 6.5 per cent of the total value of work;
- failed to obtain a policy of home indemnity insurance; and
- demanded payments that were not genuine progress payments after the commencement of work.
“The Home Building Contracts Act sets out the minimum requirements for contracts and applies to home building and associated work valued between $7,500 and $500,000,” said Building Commissioner Peter Gow.
“Plaza Tiling’s conduct resulted in serious financial consequences for the property owners, which would have been avoided had the company met its responsibilities under the Home Building Contracts Act.”
Plaza Tiling demanded and received excessive deposits for all four contracts, ranging between 25 per cent and 66 per cent of the contract value, but none of the work was completed.
In relation to one of the Rockingham contracts the owners paid Plaza Tiling a total of $122,550 but the company ceased work after only 38 tiles were laid. The Como property owners paid Plaza Tiling a total of $50,000 but only two ensuite floors and two ensuite walls were tiled.
On 9 October 2012, a liquidator was appointed to wind up Plaza Tiling. On 9 November 2014, the company was deregistered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). As Plaza Tiling did not obtain a policy of home indemnity insurance for any of the four contracts, the owners were unable to recover any money from an insurer upon the company’s liquidation.
The court ordered Mr Arguijo to pay compensation of $96,915.16 to the Rockingham property owners, and $12,950 to the Como property owners.
“Home owners can protect themselves by familiarising themselves with their rights and responsibilities before they engage a person to carry out home building work. Information for consumers can be found in the ‘Building or renovating your home’ section of the Building Commission website,” Mr Gow said.
“The Building Commission will continue to hold to account and name those who put the public interest and the reputation of the building industry at risk.”
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