VBA prosecutes unregistered building company for multiple breaches, has arrest warrant issued

An unregistered building company has been convicted and fined $60,000 for 12 breaches of the Building Act and the Domestic Building Contracts Act. The company director is believed to have left the country.

The Victorian Building Authority has successfully prosecuted an unregistered building company for 12 breaches of the Building Act 1993 and the Domestic Building Contracts Act 1995.

Melbourne Home Renovators Pty Ltd (MHR) was convicted and fined $60,000 by the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 20 August. The VBA understands the company’s sole director, Sergio Uzumcu, has left the country.

The VBA’s chief executive officer, Sue Eddy, said the outcome against MHR demonstrated the lengths the VBA was prepared to go to, to hold unregistered builders to account.

“The VBA will do everything in its power to stop unregistered builders taking advantage of unsuspecting homeowners,” said Ms Eddy.

“This prosecution once again puts the industry on notice that practitioners who do not comply with the rules will be held to account.”

The VBA recommends home and property owners check the registration status of a builder or building company on the VBA website (vba.vic.gov.au/check) before signing a contract for building work.

Background

In September 2017, MHR entered into a major domestic building contract to extend and renovate a home in Avondale Heights.

Under the Domestic Building Contracts Act, a builder must be registered with the VBA to enter into a major domestic building contract. Neither MHR nor the company’s sole director, Mr Uzumcu were registered with the Authority.

Arrest warrant issued

After commencing proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, the VBA was unable to serve Mr Uzumcu with a summons, despite repeated attempts to contact him.

Given all attempts to locate Mr Uzumcu were unsuccessful, a warrant for his arrest was issued.

Court finds allegations proven

Mr Uzumcu was scheduled to appear in the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on 20 August 2019 but failed to attend.

The matter proceeded in his absence, after the Court found the VBA’s ongoing efforts to serve MHR with a summons fulfilled the legal requirements for valid service on a company.

The Court subsequently found MHR guilty of all 12 charges. The company was convicted and fined $60,000, with costs awarded to the VBA.