Kitchen renovator in court over excessive deposit – Micheal (Michael) Clinton Cockburn

A Wangara cabinetmaker has been fined $3,300 and ordered to pay more than $500 in costs after taking a deposit that was six times the maximum allowed.

At Joondalup Magistrates Court earlier this month, Micheal Clinton Cockburn (who is also known by the spelling Michael) pleaded guilty to a breach of WA’s home building contract legislation following a prosecution by Building and Energy.

The court was told that in December 2017, Mr Cockburn entered into a contract to renovate the kitchen of a Butler house for $19,000. In an email to the home owner, he confirmed the quote and stated that a 40 per cent deposit, or $7,600, was required prior to commencing the work. 

The home owner accepted the quote and paid the deposit two days later.

Building and Energy A/Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan said the Home Building Contracts Act 1991 allows for a deposit of no more than 6.5 per cent of the total amount before work commences.

“This legislation applies to contracts for home building work or associated work valued between $7,500 and $500,000,” he said.

“In these circumstances, it is not permissible to enter into a contract that provides an entitlement to demand or receive a deposit of more than 6.5 per cent of the contract price prior to the work commencing.

“Breaches of these rules can be reported to Building and Energy on 1300 489 099.” 

See the Building and Energy website (via for more information on home building contracts.


Media contact: Sarah Roberts – 0466 409 828 (media queries only) or

Building and Energy
Media release
27 Nov 2019

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