A Sydney building company that stopped work on construction sites months ago has finally collapsed, impacting up to 19 homeowners.
News.com.au exclusively revealed back in August last year homeowners were “distressed” as they poured hundreds of thousands into unfinished houses, while work stalled on sites and the builder took a family holiday to Europe.
Many families had been forced to lodge cases against the company, Ajit Constructions, with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) last year to try and claw back hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Now Ajit Constructions has been ordered into liquidation by the Supreme Court of NSW after an application by one of its trade creditors Boral Resources NSW.
Neeraj Sikka and his family were among the impacted homeowners, who had been building an $885,000 home, which was meant to be completed by June 2022 in the suburb of North Kellyville.
He launched action in NCAT last year and said while he was awarded an order for payment, he had not seen the money and was experiencing “financial hardship”.
The 46-year-old said he was “not happy and ecstatic” about the company going into liquidation as it had impacted a “lot of innocent families” but it was “relief” that he could finally speed up the insurance claim process.
He added he had been struggling as he attempted to get his house completed after the building company stopped working on his site.
“It’s been a very horrific experience for me and I have now decided I am never going to build any house in my lifetime – I am never going this way again – it’s disturbed my family life, my married life and also my health and financially it’s been a burden,” he told news.com.au.
“I have been borrowing money from most of my friends – they have been very supportive. I feel very disappointed borrowing money off someone as never in my lifetime have I ever borrowed money off anyone, not even my parents.
“I have been working since I was 16 and I had a lot of money at my disposal, which is the complete opposite of my current state. I owe $60,000 to one person, $50,000 to a bank, I borrowed $20,000 from my cousin.”
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Mr Sikka said he expected to receive around $345,000 from his home builder’s insurance but this did not take into account that construction costs had skyrocketed.
However, he has been able to engage another builder and expects to move into his home in around four months, he added.
Accountant Dharmesh Shah was another customer who had paid $67,000 to Ajit Constructions but was left with a slab and half the framing for a house.
He said no work has been done on the site by Ajit Constructions since February last year, the month the house was meant to be complete
They had signed a $350,000 contract in February 2021 to build a five-bedroom, double storey home with Ajit Constructions.
The 40-year-old said it had been a “difficult” two years and he had received a payout order for $207,000 from NCAT which he claimed he had personally delivered to the builder’s house – but had not seen a cent.
He said his house was still under construction a year after it was meant to be delivered.
“It is very hard to secure the tradies and they have doubled their price as well. I’m out of pocket by almost $200,000 just to finish the same build and don’t forget I’m paying $800 a week rent … It’s a constant struggle and my lease is about to expire and I got a notice that the rent is going to be increased,” he told news.com.au.
“That’s the other challenge and this is impacting my personal relationship. It’s very tense as the house is not built yet. My parents are dependent on me … I am struggling to send money overseas to look after my parents, it’s just crazy right now.”
Mr Shah is particularly angry at the building company for failing to look after families.
“I know many people from the group at the age of 40 to 45 are seeking help from parents and we are supposed to look after parents who are 80 to 85 but they are having to break savings or term deposits to help their child to build their own house,” he said.
The owner of Ajit Constructions, Amarjit Khakh, had declared personal bankruptcy on 31 October last year, revealed a report from Rodgers Reidy.
Mr Khakh had been “experiencing financial difficulties on or around 1 October 2021 and he attributed his financial demise to business failure of his related entities, especially Ajit Construction Pty Ltd”, the report from November 2022 said.
He had told the bankruptcy trustee that the construction company was impacted by the “Covid-19 pandemic, together with the significant increase in the cost of materials”.
According to the initial report, Mr Khakh had just $878 cash in the bank and a tax refund of $12,000, while it noted 51 creditors were estimated to be owed more than $973,000.
The report from Rodger Reidy’s Andrew Barnden, who was acting as the trustee in bankruptcy, also noted he owed $263,000 to his former spouse.
News.com.au reached out to Mr Khakh for comment but he did not respond this morning.
He also surrendered his licence in September 2022 but had avoided attempts to wind up the company until it was ordered into court liquidation on February 27.
Aaron Lucan of Worrells has been appointed as liquidator of Ajit Constructions.
Worrells said Ajit Constructions previously operated a residential construction business which ceased operations in the second half of 2022.
The liquidators declined to provide further details when asked a series of questions by news.com.au.
“I understand that there may be customers who were left with homes under construction when Ajit Constructions ceased trading,” Mr Lucan said in a press release.
“We understand that this can be a distressing time for people, and we will do our best to support all stakeholders through the liquidation process. We are committed to ensuring the liquidation is conducted in a professional and transparent manner.”