There is a special process through which subcontractors and suppliers in the building and construction industry can claim debts owed to them. This process was created by the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 (SA). The process is intended to be quick and simple, and to avoid litigation through the Courts.
The process does not apply to domestic building contracts, except if sub-contracts have a claim for payment from the main contractor.
For more information about how to make a claim under the Act, visit the website of the Office of the Small Business Commissioner or contact the Office of the Small Business Commissioner on 1800 072 722.
Another option for recovering money owed in relation to work done to property is the process set out under the Workers Liens Act 1893 (SA). If the work is done to real property (that is land or buildings), a contractor or sub-contrator can put a charge over that property to secure payment of money owing. Because this process is complex and requires the commencement of legal proceedings to ensure that it is effective, advice should be sought from a private lawyer.
In relation to work done to personal property (anything tangible such as a car or jewellery), S41 of the the Worker's Liens Act 1893 (SA) sets out a process to enable the creditor to sell the item and recover his or her debt. If the amount owing for work done is unpaid after a period of a month, the creditor must give a further 14 days written notice to the debtor before any auction of the property. The notice must be sent to the debtor by registered post, and include the amount owing, details of the item, and information about the date time and place of sale.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.