In the recent case of Zeng v Leeda Projects Pty Ltd [2019] VSC 106 the Supreme Court of Victoria overturned a VCAT judgement, ruling that there was an implied term that required building works to be completed in a reasonable time frame. The case involved Yun Zeng (‘Zeng’) who purchased an apartment in Melbourne which required renovation prior to occupation. Zeng entered into a building contract with the defendant to complete the required renovations, which should have been completed by 3 December 2014. The renovations however, were not completed for a further 130 weeks. The VCAT held that Zeng was not entitled to damages due to the fact that the apartment was intended for residential use rather than as a rental property and therefore no direct loss was suffered. The Supreme Court overturned the VCAT’s ruling, deciding that despite Zeng’s intention to live in the property, she was entitled to compensation of the rental equivalent of the apartment for the 130 weeks. The Court reasoned that had the renovations been completed in a reasonable time period, Zeng would have had the opportunity to exercise her right of occupancy for the delayed time. This case demonstrates that even if no direct loss is suffered, you still may be entitled to damages for breach of contract.

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