An unregistered builder who accepted nearly $300,000 in payments from a couple, but failed to build their home, has been convicted and fined in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Alejandro Narvaez-Contreras, of St Albans, was fined $3500 after pleading guilty on 20 February 2012 to six breaches of the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995 (DBCA).
He was also sentenced to two months’ jail, suspended for 12 months, after being convicted of a Victoria Police charge of obtaining property by deception.
In June 2007, the couple entered into a contract with Mr Narvaez-Contreras to finish building a two-storey house with four bedrooms in Glen Waverley. The scheduled completion date was March-April 2008.
The couple made payments of more than $283,000 to Mr Narvaez-Contreras. The only work done was excavation for foundations, laying of a concrete slab, termite protection, the building of a downstairs frame and half a brick garage.
With no prospect of the work finishing, the couple terminated the domestic building contract. All the building work, except the concrete slab, has since been demolished after being condemned as below industry requirements.
The court found that Mr Narvaez-Contreras:
- demanded and received an excessive deposit of $6500 before any building work had started, in breach of the DBCA
- entered into a major domestic building contract without being registered as a builder under the Building Act 1993, in breach of the DBCA
- entered into a major domestic building contract that did not comply with the DBCA.
Mr Narvaez-Contreras also pleaded guilty to one breach of the Fair Trading Act 1999 and was sentenced to a 12-month community correction order, comprising 50 hours unpaid community work and treatment and rehabilitation.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal had previously ordered Mr Narvaez-Contreras to repay $283,772. He continues to make monthly repayments.