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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32323
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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I live in Phoenix. I red a contractor remodel... he is just

Customer Question

I live in Phoenix. I hired a contractor for a remodel... he is just about finished up the job... however it has taken 3 months longer than estimated...during the delays I found out that he is not licensed and is in fact using another contractors license without permission... What are my options? Do I need to pay him for the work completed to this point? Can he put a lien on the house because we signed the contact with him, under the assumption that he was a licensed contractor...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Further, if you get a message asking if you want to do additional services like a telephone call that message is automatically generated by the website and is not sent from me. I, like most of the experts in the Legal categories, do not do telephone calls due to issues with State Bar rules and other concerns.

Yes, you will owe him for his work although you may be able to sue him for a partial refund. He will be able to make some type of recovery under a contract theory as well as a quntum meruit equitable theory.

Not paying at this point could also get criminal charges filed against you for theft of services if the DA is willing to do so.

He can also put a lien on the house if he is not paid and, again, you would have to sue him to get the lien removed.

Please ask any follow up questions in this thread.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
even though the contract with him was signed because he said he was licensed and he ultimately was not licensed we would still be required to pay him as a licensed contractor? Isn't it criminal in the state of AZ to act as a general contractor while using someone else s license?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

You would be required to pay him an then sue to get the money back. Him not being a licensed contractor doesn't mean the work wasn't done or that he wasn't entitled to any money.

You can also sue him and deposit the amount into the registry of the court (probably the best solution). That prevents him from having access to it and spending it all in the event the judge rules in your favor. Many places allow someone to work under another contractor's license so it isn't always a disqualification from being paid in full.

It's not illegal to contract without a license so long as any advertising materials indicate that you are not licensed. This is pursuant to 32-1165 which you can see at http://www.azleg.gov/ars/32/01165.htm

There are a lot of AZ restrictions on what unlicensed contractors can and cannot do, They are covered by Chapter 10 of the Professions and Occupations Code which you can see at http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=32

However, the issue here isn't whether he should or shouldn't be engaging in his activities. It is whether you are unilaterally allowed to not pay someone for work they have done. If he is engaging in work that he is not supposed to be doing then the proper recourse is to sue and have the court to make that determination and decide how much, if anything, he should be paid. As I mentioned above, the best solution is to sue him and deposit the money for the job into the registry of the court. That demonstrates to the job that you're not trying to get out of paying him unlawfully, but that you believe there are issues which need to be addressed before payment is complete.