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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. of experience in employment law, real estate and business law, family law, criminal defense and immigration.
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My daughter paid $500 down to have gutters installed. Gutters

Customer Question

My daughter paid $500 down to have gutters installed. Gutters were installed on, or around 3/11/15 and a bill for a balance of ~ $250. One 5/1/15, the contractor came back and removed the gutters for "non-payment". Damage the facisa, etc, in the process. Daughter lives in WV and contractor from OH. Can a contractor trespass and steal the gutters?.. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, my name is ***** ***** I will be b glad to Answer your qauestion. I read your post, but did not see that you had asked a question,

What qauesrtion may I Answer for you this evening ?

I look forward to your reply and Answering your questrion,

ANDREA

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Can a contractor come back and remove gutters after being paid $500/down?????? They didnt wait long enough for the balance. I there were a problem... I thought they would have to take legal action such as a lien, or something. Not come back and remove the gutters...

Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your reply,

I am sorry to hear about all the trouble the contractor caused for your daughter.

I know that you are asking your qauestion JustAnswer because you want a correct Answer,

The law allows any contractor or anyone who supplies or installs something on an owner's property to remove whatever he installed or supplied to the property, if he has not been paid by the property owner. But, in doing so, he cannot damage the property.

There was a somewhat similar situation where an individual installed close circuit televisions to monitor who entered the building in order to assure the safety of the occupants of the building. The Property management company made only a partial payment to the installer. After two months of waiting to be paid the balance, the installer returned to the property and removed all the television security cameras he had installed and caulked up all the holes that had been made by the screws which held up the stands on which the television security cameras were placed, The Court held that the installer's exercise of "self help" was legal and he was exercising a right given to him by law.

I agree that there are other steps which can be taken, and the drastic measures your daughter's contractor took certainly do not speak well of him, nor will he be getting too many referals for new customers from past clients, if this is the way he treats his customers. If this person was a good businessman, he would have first tried to resolve the problem of non-payment with your daughter. After all, we are all human and sometimes unexpected expenses pop up which set us back a couple of montjhs, That does not mean that we do not intend to pay, or that w are trying to cheat someone. He was just plain mean and certainly does not care about his reputation or his business. He will live to regret his actions and of this I have no doubt, but unfortunately, what he did was within the law and legal.

Something which your daughter should do is to to closely inspect the entire area where this individual had installed the gutters and if he caused any damage to your daughter's property when he was removing the gutters, take a lot of photographs and a lot of close up photographs of every area of the gutters which this individual damaged when he installed or removed the gutters. Have at least two different repairman give you written estimates of the cost to repair the damage that was done. Then, your daughter should write him a very, very brief letter, saying something along the following lines,

"You will recall that on ___, you ripped out ____ feet of gutters which you had previously istalled on my property. In the process, you caused substantial damage to my property. I have obtained two written estimates to repair the damage you caused. They are $ ____ and $ ____., they average out to be $ ____.

If I do not receive payment in the amount of $ _____ in cash, bank check, or Bank Moneyn Order within 5 days of the date of this letter, you will leave me no alternative but to institute a lawsuit against you in this amount. I will then ask the Court for Judgment against you, interest, Attorneys' fees, Court Costs and all other costs and fees I will be forced to incur because of your failure to pay for the damage you caused to my peoperty,

Your daugher should make 3 copies of the letter. She should send one by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Reqauested, send one by regular mail and keep a copyfor herself. t

Do not enclose the written estimates in the letter. Make him be the one that comes to your daughter to ask for a copy of her written estimates. letter. Let him present him with a bill for any repairs to the gutters that had to be made as a result of his ripping out the gutters. The law requres that you allow him at least 10 days to pay. If he does not pay, then your daughter should make it a point t go to Small Claims Court on the 11th day and file a lawsuit against him.

That will teach him to mess around with people's property,

________________________________________________________

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Bonus and Positive Feedback is appreciated,

Kindest Regards,

ANDREA