Help! Nightmare Experience.

10 Replies

Hired a contractor to complete hvac work. He said the work would be completed within 2/3 days and he is still not finished, it's been 19. Paid him for the materials of one unit (apartment building) and he did not even start until 7 days later. He did complete some other jobs that came along the way (shoddy work) 1 day total. Then 12 days in he asks me if I can buy some materials because a distributor won't sell to him. Finally 15 days in he has most of the work done (and has been fully compensated not to mention additional money on top of the agreed price per unit.) So now we are 19 days in and he still hasn't finished the first unit. We fired him and now he is threatening to call the city...I assume he didn't pull permits and sue use/put a lien on the property. Is this possible? This has cost us so much money due to the fact we cannot fill the units until he is done.

Is he licensed and insured?

@Gregory Jimison May want to read this, though its a little late. Is he a licensed contractor, and did you have a permit. Be honest did you know this and trying to save money, or did you think he was licensed, if he isn't of course. If he is licensed you should tell him you are going to file a complaint with the building department. Either way building will need an inspection and will have a stop work order coming. As a investor and contractor (really former I GC my projects and JV's now) let me know if I can help. Usually the cheapest option is rarely the least expensive and this is a lesson all of us pros have learned along the way.

@Jeremy Tillotson  he is licensed and I have it on our contract. However, and this was done in haste the agreement was to complete the first unit and we would proceed with the others if it was to our satisfaction. It is still not completed. He has been completely paid for work done and then some but says he can sue us for the contract amount. ( we do not want him doing the work) I really appreciate the reply.

@brandon turner is this one of those expensive lessons?

Also, I am 99.9% certain he didn't pull permits. I am told gcs don't put permits in windows bc it invites people to come in and steal.

@Gregory Jimison  What else does he want from you, if he's been paid in full?  A contractor with no credit (ability to buy materials on his own accounts) is a red flag.  In a perfect world, I would never pay for materials up front, but when I make and exception, I buy the materials and don't put money in someone's hands and hope they use it for what they say they will.  You will encounter a lot of people in the trades who are great at their trade, but poor at managing their business.

NEVER pay in full before a job is done.  I still don't understand what he wants.  If you paid him in full for the job and then told him, he doesn't have to come back to finish the job, what would he sue you for?

@Gregory Jimison  it is against the law for us not to post them in sight visible from the road (this is comical sometimes if house sits back a long way) so everyone hangs it in front window and calls it that. If he did work and didnt pull permits he has issues. That said dont get ahead on payments, which you learnt. I would sit down and come to some for of agreement and have him sign a lien waiver when you are done. You may also call the building department to see your options (he may have a bond you can go after), but I would try to avoid court, even if you win it will cost, so if it cost a little ($100) for a lien waiver it may be worth it. No legal advice,

@Robert Leonard  His contract was originally for 7 units and he wanted money for materials up front. This was a red flag for us so we only agreed to pay for materials of one unit up front $1450.00 then $400 in labor. We have paid him $2100.00 and it's still not finished. He has not completed any other work aside from cutting holes in our other apartment walks to run duct work. We are obviously not impressed with his performance and wanted to cut our losses. He says he can sue for the contract, which in a text message he states that he was losing money for each job. Idk, don't think a judge would award him any damages, what should I do. BTW he has 100 days to file mechanics lien and 6 months after he files lien to file in court for lawsuit.

I realize that I am to blame for not doing my homework. Just looked this guy up and he is only licensed for siding/roofing/carpentry and not a GC, is this actionable?

At this point I would consult a lawyer (real estate). Depending on state laws he could file a mechanics lien.

Just an update, it does not appear that any action was taken by this individual yet. I have not received a call from the city and nothing is posted to the door. Really appreciate the feedback from everyone on here. Lesson learned, vet your contractors and have your contracts reviewed by legal.

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