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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36633
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I have a contract question, colorado, no, A contractor never

Customer Question

I have a contract question
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: colorado
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: A contractor never came back to finish a deck
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Can you give me some more details about the back story and tell me what your legal question is?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I have a signed contract for two decks to be completed work was to start in June. Contractor has been here four times. His workers finished the front deck which was less expensive by other bids then the back deck. He has never come back to work on the back deck after demo is done. He told me this morning he can't get back until December. This is unacceptable to me way too long to get finished. In the contract we Bartered for a boat that is worth $5,000 as our last payment. I still have the boat. Can I get the deck fixed by another contractor and so the first contractor for the difference in price?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

When you initially signed the contract, when was the estimated finish date?

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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Big mistake on our part we had no finish date
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
On the contract the jobs scheduled to begin date was June 23rd. Unfortunately we did not have a finish date on the contract
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
He told us we would save money by doing both front and back decks at the same time. So maybe he gave us a lower bid than someone else would have and I have got another bed since and they are a little more but the front deck is substantially less expensive than the back deck can I get the back deck finished by someone else and have this first contractor pay me the difference? The contract says he gets the boat worth $5,000 at the end when the project is finished
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, then you can imply a "reasonable" time for completion and I would opine that 4 months would be considered a reasonable time to get both decks completed.

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So your recourse here is to send the contractor a written letter stating that it is unreasonble for you to have to wait over 7 months from the start date for the back deck to be completed and if they can't get it done by XXXXXX then you will consider them in breach of the contract and will terminate and hire another contractor to finish the work.

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You decide what XXXX date is but I would make it at least 2 weeks out so he might be able to bump another job to get yours done. Then if he doesn't finish, you send him another letter at the end of the XXXX date and tell him that you consider him in breach due to the unreasonable delay and are terminating the contract.

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But since you haven't paid him for the back deck and the compensation was a trade, I don't see you being able to hold him liable for what it costs to have another contractor to do the back deck.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Both decks work to be done for a little over $11,000 including the boat. We have paid him in cash $6,389. I have a bill from another contractor to do the back deck for $9,000. I feel that having paid the first contractor over $6,000 when I've got in the bed for the front deck to cost $3,000 that I haven't gotten my money's worth yet
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Highfield a breach of contract isn't that I have paid him for more than just the front deck so far
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, if you had an agreed on price for the entire job, both front and back decks and it was part cash, part boat, then you can get the book value of the boat and deduct that from the total job cost and that is what is left for the back deck. If the contractor won't complete the job for the rest of what is owed by your time limit, then if you have to pay another contractor over that, then I think you could sue the first contractor for breach of contract for any overage.

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The key is you have to give him an opportunity to finish after you put your foot down with a deadline to show you are acting in good faith and giving him one last chance before you go with someone else. You also need to state in your letter, (sent certified mail) that you will proceed to hire another contractor to finish and hold him liable for any overage.

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As long as you lay all your cards on the table as to what you will do if he doesn't finish, then you have acted in good faith and can then hold him liable for breach.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your advice
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister