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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34320
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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Looking for an answer on a contractor I hired over two

Customer Question

Looking for an answer on a contractor I hired over two months ago. We had heavy rain falls and had water in the basement. Hired someone who came and brought in a huge dehumidifier and five industrial fans. They remained running in basement and the company checked on them once. We paid them $500.00 cash on day of flooding, happy we could reach anyone in Cincinnati that morning. So we leave all the equipment running, the carpet is up and furniture on it's sides. Now contractor is no where to be found. After two months of $300. energy bill we finally unplugged it. I've sent a certified letter last week, no return card has made it's way back to me. So it's been over three months and I want my basement back. What can we do with equipment left on property? We want it gone so we can reclaim our basement again. HELP!!!! Now I guess I need to hire another contractor to finish the job they started.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Cincinnati, Ohio
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: No not yet.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No just that one question is if we should contact the police report on equipment.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 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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Has the contractor not responded to any communication from you?

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Where did you initially find the contractor and have you returned there to see if they are still there?

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Do you have a physical address for the contractor?

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Can you tell if the equipment is rented from a certain rental company?

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Do you have any type of written repair/remodeling contract with the company?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Contractor was here twice. We reached by phone for the second check up and how equipment was doing in the way of drying it out.
I looked them up online and selected them because it stated they accepted AMEX, when here they advised me they did not take AMEX and the cost was $600. if I paid case $500.
I have two physical addresses both are homes I guess.
It's a real contract with the name on top and only thing on there is $500. dry basement.
Should I call police or can I sell his stuff taking storage in family and the humidifier is very large.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I can use online only due to disability.
Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

Ok, thank you for that information.. I don't do the phone calls anyway as I like to have time to think about a customer's questions and research them..

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Just a minute while I type out an answer..

Expert:  Barrister replied 3 months ago.

If the contractor won't come back and get his equipment, then you would have to formally notify him via certified and first class mail that you are terminating the "bailment" and will consider the equipment abandoned if he doesn't come and retrieve it within 10 days.

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What the person has done by leaving their property there is create a "voluntary bailment" with you being the bailee. A voluntary bailment is when one party, the bailor, leaves personal property in the possession of the bailee with permission or consent. The bailor can return and take possession of the property at any time before the bailee terminates the bailment and the property is considered abandoned. A bailee can terminate a voluntary bailment by giving notice to the bailor that they need to come get the property or it will be considered abandoned and disposed of.

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In order to legally terminate the bailment, you have to give written notice to the bailor at their last known address (which would probably be the two addresses you have). I would send it certified mail as well as first class mail to both addresses you have (4 letters in total) in case they have a forwarding address with the post office. State that you are terminating the bailment and the bailor has 10 days to remove the property or you will consider it abandoned and dispose of it. On day 11 if it is still there, you can dispose of it as abandoned.

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You want to create a paper trail to prove that you used every means to contact them to come get their property before you disposed of it. The certified letter receipts will prove you did everything you could before you considered it abandoned and disposed of it if he later tries to show up and sue you for getting rid of his equipment.

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I would also look all over the equipment to see if there was any rental store tag on it and if there is, contact them to come get their property...

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The police won't do anything because this is a purely civil matter..

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thanks

Barrister