Millionaire caviar dealer couple face £120,000 legal bill after losing court battle with builder they claimed laid a wobbly floor in their £5million Hampstead mansion
- Sasha and Rudi Kainz refused to pay the outstanding £38,000 invoice for the allegedly ‘poor quality’ renovation of their Hampstead mansion
- Millionaire caviar importers claim works to their home ‘overran’ by two months
- Renovators Entire Houze Ltd sued couple for refusing to pay £38,000 invoice
- Judge then hit Mr and Mrs Kainz with £120,000 bill including legal costs
A millionaire caviar deal couple face a £120,000 legal bill after losing a court battle with a builder they claimed put down a wobbly floor in their £5million London home.
Sasha and Rudi Kainz refused to pay the outstanding £38,000 invoice for the allegedly ‘poor quality’ renovation of their three-storey detached Hampstead mansion.
The caviar importers, who have reportedly supplied ‘Royalty’, claimed they had been ‘promised’ by builders Entire Houze Ltd that the works, which included making over a nursery room and a bedroom for a nanny, would be done well before the birth of their son in October 2018.
But two months after their baby was born, the renovation was still not complete, while Mr and Mrs Kainz also raised a string of complaints about the quality of the works that had been done — including a wooden floor which ‘sinks when stood upon’.
After a falling out, Entire Houze owner Haim Maymon sued the couple for the £38,000 outstanding on the total £115,000 bill for renovating their 1930s house in north-west London between August and December 2018.
Mr Maymon denied there was anything wrong with the renovation, while his lawyers told Central London County Court that ‘annoying’ Mrs Kainz expected the ‘impossible’.
Sasha and Rudi Kainz refused to pay the outstanding £38,000 invoice for the allegedly ‘poor quality’ renovation of their three-storey detached Hampstead mansion
After a falling out, Entire Houze owner Haim Maymon (pictured) sued the couple for the £38,000 outstanding on the total £115,000 bill for renovating their 1930s Hampstead house
But Mr and Mrs Kainz counterclaimed, saying works to their floor and some other areas were ‘incomplete or not carried out with reasonable care and skill’ and would cost them over £76,000 to put right.
One of the couple’s biggest gripes related to the new wooden floor, which they said suffers from ‘unevenness, bounce and sinking’ and which they claimed would need to be removed and replaced at a cost of nearly £24,000.
‘If one were to put a tennis ball in the middle of the room it would roll from one end to the other,’ Mrs Kainz told Judge Stephen Hellman in evidence, also complaining that ‘nail holes were put in the very expensive skirting’ and ‘big gaps’ left at the edge of the floor.
However, the judge ruled there was nothing wrong with the floor, although he found some of the other works ‘did not match up’ to what the wealthy pair expected and paid for.
He told the couple to pay £17,930.78 of the money the builder said he was owed, and hit them with an order to pay his £100,000 legal costs on top, as well as their own legal bill.
William Skjott, for Mr and Mrs Kainz, said: ‘Mr Maymon and Mrs Kainz agreed that Entire Houze would deliver works to a high specification that was commensurate with the value of the property and the materials that Mr Maymon was given to work with.
‘Mr Maymon assured Mr and Mrs Kainz that the floor would be ‘flat’ with no bumps or obvious dips. Mrs Kainz relied upon him advising properly on whether the floor needed to be levelled before the installation of the wood flooring.
‘The flooring was laid without the floor being levelled, leading to the defects.’
He claimed that the company had ‘overpromised and underdelivered’ on the works, which were ‘wholly defective’, failing to deliver the ‘excellent finishes’ promised.
Mr Skjott also told the judge that Mr Maymon’s company failed to complete the renovation ‘in time for the baby deadline’ – despite Mrs Kainz insisting he repeatedly promised to do so.
‘Given Mrs Kainz’s pregnancy, it was an important consideration for the defendants that the works were undertaken swiftly in preparation for the arrival of the baby,’ he said
‘In addition, there was a further duty upon the claimant to ensure that the works were carried out safely and on time and that the property was not left in an unsafe condition.’
Mr and Mrs Kainz complained that renovations on their £5million Hampstead mansion overran and were of poor quality. They pointed to a wooden floor which ‘sinks when stood upon’
Mrs Kainz told the judge about the nightmare she endured trying to deal with managing the building work while pregnant, saying, ‘I was feeling really really sick at the time, vomiting most of the day.
‘My son was born and he had lactose intolerance and I was trying to breast feed. I was up all the time. I was like a zombie.
‘I was really busy with a newborn who wasn’t totally healthy. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t helped by the debacle that was going on on site.’
But the company’s barrister, Sajjid Nabi, said that, given extra works added to the project, finishing before the birth was ‘impossible’ and that Mr Maymon denied ever promising it would be.
Giving evidence, Mr Maymon told the judge: ‘I didn’t mention the child… (what was originally) a less than £20,000 job came to be an over £100,000 job. They knew it was not going to get done in time.’
Turning to the allegedly uneven floor, the couple’s barrister put it to Mr Maymon that they had been promised a flat floor, but ended up with one which sinks when stood upon.
Mr Maymon replied that he had installed a ‘floating’ wooden floor on spongy underlay and insisted it was normal that it should sink
On the claim that the floor is uneven, he said it was in line with the structure of the rest of the house and that the couple had agreed not to have the sub-floor levelled to make the job cheaper.
‘I told them all the options and they chose to go with less expensive options,’ he told the judge.
And Mr Nabi showed the judge an email which he claimed proved Mrs Kainz had been happy with the quality of the work throughout most of the project.
The email was signed: ‘Best regards your very annoying and most appreciative clients, Sasha and Rudi.’
But Mrs Kainz said the email was a ‘naive misrepresentation of the situation’ and that she had merely been trying to be an ‘agreeable client.’
‘The payment was being withheld with good reason,’ she said. ‘I had very grave concerns about the quality of the work.
Mr Nabi told the judge that an expert instructed for the case disagreed that the finishes on the house renovation were substandard or that there was anything wrong with the floor.
‘He jumped up and down on the floors, but found no evidence of any sinking or bounce,’ the barrister told the judge.
Giving his ruling, Judge Hellman said the couple had simply decided not to have the sub-floor levelled to save money and could not blame the builders for the result.
‘The floor was the largest single item of contention,’ he said. ‘In my judgment, Mr and Mrs Kainz made an informed choice (not to have the sub-floor levelled) and went with the less expensive option.
‘I therefore make no award under this head of damages.’
He added that the allegations relating to the time taken to complete the works were irrelevant to the couple’s claim, but went on to find that Mr and Mrs Kainz ‘did not get what they contracted for’ in relation to some of the other works to their house and reduced the £38,000 owed on the invoices to £17,930.78.
But he also ordered them to pay the builders’ £100,000 lawyers’ bill after being told that Mr Maymon made a bid to settle the case for £1,000 prior to trial which Mr and Mrs Kainz rejected.
Mr and Mrs Kainz are partners in fine food import company Siberian Gold Caviar, and have reportedly supplied their wares to ‘Royalty’.
Their UK launch party was hosted at the Royal suite of the Savoy by Camilla Parker-Bowles’ son Tom Parker-Bowles and attended by the Earl de la Warr.
Source: Read Full Article