Legal?? information/advice needed

Hi All,

I wonder if anyone can help me with advice.

My situation (in brief) is as follows:

I went into a project with a builder, which has not gone to well. Main reason is that he got into a bit of financial trouble and therefore completed more profitable projects for himself rather than ours that wasn't going to give him personally as much $.

The building was expected to be finished late last year and it was therefore sold to a third party as land with the building to be finished before settlement on the advised date. However it looks like 1 year later the building will be finished approx 1 year after settlement.

Question - what liability do we as vendors have, having sold the land under a real estate contract (in Victoria). The purchaser has had to rent a house in the meantime. Are we liable to pay their rent and any other costs that they incur in having to apply for a new mortgage because of the expiry of their initial financing? If yes, could we argue that interest they would have paid under a mortgage should be offset (i.e. not paid as they have paid rent but would have paid interest if they had taken possession of the property?). By not terminating the contract when it became apparent that the building was not going to be completed on time, is the purchaser accepting the additional costs incurred by them not mitigating their losses? Basically I need an idea as to what is reasonable to accept (as my solicitor says one thing but he is going to get more fees the more discussions we have etc).

Also, the next door neighbours are now saying the fence between the properties needs replacing. Who is responsible for paying for part of this, us as the owners or the purchaser of the property as we have a contract of sale so they are the beneficial owners (and we will not have a long term benefit from the new fence)

It would be great if anyone has ideas as to what our liability might be or any arguments we might use.

Note that the building contract has a clause for delays of approx $130pw, but I think the builder might just bankrupt the company if we take him to court over this (he is already trading out of a new company).

Many thanks