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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38452
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Need an answer on general contractor / remodel work.

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Need an answer on general contractor / remodel work.
Hello,

I am a member of the State Bar of California and a Incensed California real estate broker. I have considerable experience with building contractors. What question can I "justanswer" for you today?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have a contractor that has been dragging his feet on and on to finish a punchlist for our home remodel. It's been 3 months after the stated completion date in the contract and I've run out of patience, one excuse after the other. Is there anything we can do to force him to just complete or a penalty for not doing so?


 


Secondly, there was left over flooring that I saw with my own eyes after the flooring was laid. Then it disappeared and we need that for current and future repairs, he won't give me an invoice to show what was purchased and though I'd love to know what he paid, I'm really interested in how much and where it went. Can we force him to show us invoices?


 


Lastly, can we pay someone to just complete the repairs and take it out of the amount owing him for final payment?

I have a contractor that has been dragging his feet on and on to finish a punchlist for our home remodel. It's been 3 months after the stated completion date in the contract and I've run out of patience, one excuse after the other. Is there anything we can do to force him to just complete or a penalty for not doing so?

 

A: Send certified mail letter itemizing the corrections to be made, note the date when you first requested the corrections, state a date after which you intend to hire someone else to finish, unless the corrections are completed by the date. Then, if the contractor fails to perform, hire another contractor, and then either deduct the amounts from your final payment to the original contractor, or if you've already paid in full, then file a complaint with the CSLB and sue the contractor in small claims (assuming that the amount in dispute is $10,000 or less).

 

Note: 30 days to complete is reasonable notice to perform.

 

Secondly, there was left over flooring that I saw with my own eyes after the flooring was laid. Then it disappeared and we need that for current and future repairs, he won't give me an invoice to show what was purchased and though I'd love to know what he paid, I'm really interested in how much and where it went. Can we force him to show us invoices?

A: Depends on your contract. If the contract was to install, and it did not break out labor and materials separately, then "no." Otherwise, you can force the issue, but only by threatening and if necessary, following through with legal action and a CSLB complaint.

Lastly, can we pay someone to just complete the repairs and take it out of the amount owing him for final payment?

 

A: Answered above.

 

Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. One additional point, would there be any time where we were NOT entitled to have the left over material, given that we paid for as part of the contract?

If you paid for the materials, then they are your property, and the contractor's removal of the material is theft. In a civil action, this is called "conversion:" exercise of dominion and control over property of another sufficient to require a forced sale. In a criminal sense, it's just what it seems to be. If you paid for goods under a contract, and those goods are delivered to your property, and then someone takes those goods from your property without consent, then that is the definition of a theft: the trespassory taking of the property of another without consent or privilege.

Hope this helps.
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