The contractor has several items that are either half done or not done at all in our new home. It has been 7 months since we closed on the house. He sent a guy back once to work on projects. I have tried to contact him several times during those months and he would not reply back. Finally, this week, I decided to be a thorn and text and called until he replied. His answer was " you need to pay the outstanding invoice for your house numbers and for the install of the screen door before I will send anyone out there" He never sent us an invoice and we bought the door, He also said he was out of town for the week....Nope, he is working a block from my house and I waved at him while out on a run to let him know i saw him. He lies about everything. I did confronted him about his work ethic and he had every excuse in the world as to why it is my fault he cant finish the work. Meanwhile, I have a shell for a built in dresser- 2 doors that will open half way- 4 floating shelves missing in my kitchen and cracks in my walls and ceiling and grout falling out of the tile work. He currently has 5 families he is doing this to and we all feel like we are being robbed. Do I have any options?
Your options are to keep trying to get him to come back to finish (THAT's not going to happen) or find a new contractor to complete the work. I suggest that if there is real work to be done--by that I mean work that will be costly--if you want to try to recover that money from him that you create a good paper trail so he has little defense against your claims. The defense that I would raise against you is that the contractor didn't really know about your issues and you didn't give him a chance to fix them whether under the warranty or punchlist.
YOU know that you have given him notice and an opportunity, but can you prove it to others? Put it in writing, send it to him certified mail. If he stops accepting your certified mail--no one likes certified mail NOTHING good comes by certified--send it to him FedEx. Good stuff comes by FedEx all the time, people will kill themselves to get a FedEx package (at least once, until they figure out your scheme.
IF the cost is high enough, you may want to have a lawyer help you with the papertrail. In any event you will need to document all of the problems for yourself and the coming lawsuit. Take pictures of every problem from every angle being sure that there is good lighting. Take video of the problems and narrate the video so you and the viewer know what they are looking at.
If it were me (an I wasn't a construction lawyer), I would look on Avvo's Find a Lawyer for a local Construction & Development attorney who also had Consumer Law experience.
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Time to get a new contractor.. It seems this is less a legal matter than it is a lesson on how "not to do business." You need to find another contractor. If he has taken money from you and has not done the work, then perhaps your option would be to take him to small claims court. Otherwise, save your sanity and find someone else. Good luck.
This advise is only being offered as a courtesy. An attorney-client relationship does not exist. My comments are based on the limited fact pattern presented by you. Do not take any legal action based upon this answer. You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney to review your matter further.
I agree with the other excellent responses that you have received from very well-qualified attorneys. I would add: You always have options. You can sue. You may even "win." But collecting is a different matter entirely. Many contractors live hand-to-mouth and are judgment proof. It is certainly more economical if all 5 families go in together to hire an attorney and chase this guy. Regards...
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