Property maintenance claim proceeds

Posted: 17th January 2013

A not-for-profit housing partnership is facing a High Court breach of contract claim after it deducted £300,000 from sums claimed to be due by a property repair and maintenance contractor. A judge rejected the partnership’s plea that the claim should be struck out as disclosing no reasonable cause of action.

FlatsThe contractor was appointed to carry out responsive maintenance work on behalf of the partnership following a competitive tendering exercise. The contractor carried out thousands of tasks in respect of the partnership’s very substantial housing stock prior to the contract being formally signed, sealed and delivered.

Subsequent to completion of the contract, the partnership deducted £300,000 from the sums it paid to the contractor on the basis that, up until that time, payments had been calculated on an incorrect basis. The contractor instituted legal proceedings claiming, inter alia, misrepresentation and that the partnership was estopped from making the deduction in the light of oral agreements.

Refusing to strike out the contractor’s case, Mr Justice Akenhead said that the pleaded facts, if established, were capable of establishing a valid claim. The outcome of the case would ultimately turn on the judge’s factual findings, the nuances of the evidence and the inferences that could be drawn from it.