38A Greenacre man has been ordered to pay more than $40,000 fines and costs for carrying out home renovations without a licence and breaches of home building legislation.

Buddy Charbel Challita, age 42, was convicted ex-parte in Parramatta Local Court on 2 May.

He was fined $6,000 for unlicensed contracting of specialist work, $18,000 for three counts of demanding/receiving payment before residential work had commenced and a further $18,000 for three counts of contracting to do residential work without a certificate of insurance.

Mr Challita was also ordered to pay professional and court costs of $2,095, bringing the total in fines and costs to $44,095.

The court heard Mr Challita applied to Fair Trading for a contractor licence in 2009 but his application was refused due to his status as a bankrupt at that time.

However, in April 2013 he contracted with a home owner in East Hills to construct two new bathrooms,a laundry and a kitchen for the amount of $33,420 – specialist home building work that requires a licence in NSW.

At the time of the contracting there was also no Home Warranty Insurance in place.

In addition, Mr Challita demanded and received a deposit of $4,000 from the home owner, in excess of the 5 per cent maximum deposit permitted under the Home Building Act 1989.

A further $5,000 deposit was subsequently demanded and paid to Mr Challita, followed by another $4,500.

In total the home owner paid $13,500 to Mr Challita yet three months after entering into the contract he had barely started on the work.

The home owner subsequently engaged other contractors to complete the residential building work at added expense.

Acting Fair Trading Commissioner Rob Vellar said the purpose of the Home Building Act was to protect consumers from people such as Mr Challita.

“Unlicensed building and commencing work without Home Warranty Insurance in place can not only have a potentially adverse impact upon the future re-sale value of a property,’ he said.

“It can also been downright dangerous. Always check your builder is appropriately licensed before entering into any contract for home renovations.”

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