Sydney builder Ajit Constructions leaves families with a ‘complete nightmare’
A Sydney building company, whose owner went on vacation to Europe after no work was done on homes for months, has given up planning permission but has so far avoided attempts winding-up laws, leaving families feeling “helpless”.
News.com.au exclusively revealed last month that landlords were ‘stressed’ as they poured out hundreds of thousands of unfinished homes and risked never being able to finish them.
The families had signed up to build with Ajit Constructions, but emails sent to buyers in recent months spoke of a “cash shortage” and a “shortage of cash”.
Desperate families continue to be ‘frustrated’ and feel ‘helpless’ as they are left in limbo, saying there has still been no communication from the company or work on their homes .
Many have been forced to file suits in the NSW Civil and Administrative Court (NCAT) in an attempt to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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Neeraj Sikka and his family are among the affected homeowners, who have built an $885,000 home, due to be completed by June this year, in the suburb of North Kellyville.
Instead, the 46-year-old was left with a half-built house with no roof and was exposed to months of rain leaving the floors moldy and black, Mr Sikka said.
The official poured $387,000 into the house, but it is still only at the frame stage and the family faces financial ruin as the project has been stalled for at least three months, a- he asserted.
“I am very distressed. I can’t sleep at night. I am talking to a psychiatrist and am currently taking blood pressure medication,” he told news.com.au last month.
“I may have to end up with nothing because I owe the bank money that I can’t pay every week, I can’t afford the $1,500 every week and for so many months nothing has happened. on the spot.”
Building permit issued
Documents show the company returned its license on September 9 and can now only work on contracts that do not require insurance under the homebuilders’ compensation program.
This means that Ajit Constructions cannot work on projects worth more than $20,000.
“For several weeks now, all the families have been running around to prove that (the company) is in violation and that its license should have been canceled to trigger our insurance claim,” Mr Sikka said.
The family’s NCAT case was originally heard on Friday, with Mr Sikka’s wife, Gautami Arora, describing the current heartache they are experiencing.
“We had a dream and it ruined our life. We are going through a terrible time and there is not even a single day when we can sleep properly,” the mother-of-two told the court in tears.
“I was more of a housewife and took care of my family, but I have to go back to work. But I work seven days to support them.
Mr Sikka told the court that the family’s relationship had been badly affected by their experience and he had received no response to emails or legal letters to Ajit Constructions.
He added that taking the company to civil court was their “last resort” as they were “desperate”.
Ajit Constructions attorney, Daniel Ivers of the law firm Madison Marcus, confirmed during the NCAT hearing that the license had been returned, so the company was “no longer completing the work.”
Ajit Constructions is currently facing a winding-up order in the Supreme Court of a roofing supplier, which is due to be heard this week, but Mr Ivers said the lawyers were currently “negotiating” and that he did not It was not yet clear whether the case would proceed.
If Ajit Constructions does not go into liquidation, families will not be able to claim their home warranty insurance.
Mr. Sikka chose to adjourn the NCAT proceedings to wait to see if Ajit Constructions would go into liquidation.
Senior NCAT member David Goldstein, who was overseeing the procedure, told the family he was sure their experience had been a ‘complete nightmare’ and that he understood their predicament, but could not carry out mandate as long as the company was still solvent.
He added that it would take the family six or seven months to have their “day in court”.
Eleven families under “stress”
Eleven other families also filed complaints, which were also heard on Friday, despite being told it was not possible to launch a class action through the NCAT.
Many families spoke to NCAT about their financial, “medical and emotional” stress and the “difficult times” they were going through as their homes remained unfinished.
A couple have revealed they are claiming $157,000 for incomplete work and overcharges for faulty work.
Another said he would claim the increased cost of construction, direct payment to suppliers and loss of money from renting.
A mother also revealed that she was actually employed by Ajit Constructions while building with them.
News.com.au has contacted Ajit Constructions for comment but has not heard back.
Among the families appearing in court was Manish Agrawal who previously told news.com.au that despite paying $152,000 for the construction, including $12,000 directly to window frame and brick suppliers, he did not only had a slab and a partition on his property.
The father-of-two describes the experience as “horrible” and quotes seen by news.com.au show he will be forced to shell out a large sum of money for a new builder of up to $260,000.
Then there’s Reza Thebuwana who has already paid Ajit Constructions $297,000 for a four-bedroom, one-story house in Nirimba Fields but described the situation last month as a “living nightmare”.
The 39-year-old said he paid to lock down the stage, but part of the roof is not complete, which means water is seeping into the interior walls and there are mold on the gypsum.
There are no kitchen facilities and electrical and plumbing work has not even started, while the bathroom is also lacking in tiles, he added.
Engineer Imran Ali said he was unsure how he would finish his family home after shelling out $270,000 to Ajit Constructions.
He claims no work has taken place since shortly after mid-May and says he has only a shell of a house left and has lost “hope”.
Then there’s Ashish Kandoi who got Ajit Constructions to agree to pay $3,200 a month if his house wasn’t finished by February this year in an email seen by news.com.au.
Still, the house remains incomplete, and he said it was unlivable after paying the company $330,000 to build.
Accountant Dharmesh Shah paid $67,000 but still has a slab and half of a house’s frame left, but no work has been done on the site since February this year, the month the house was due to be finished.
The 11 families all chose to pursue their cases with a set schedule for the evidence to be served on Ajit Constructions lawyers.
The cases will return to the NCAT in November.
Mr Goldstein added during the NCAT hearing for the 11 families that he understood it had been “a very unpleasant time for a lot of people”.