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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 115464
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Tina: we had a flood in our home requiring both mitigation

Customer Question

Hi Tina: we had a flood in our home requiring both mitigation and restoration. Went with same company for both issues. Received 2 bids both approximately 23k. Insurance approved the restoration bid allowing for an initial 19K with 4K available for extra overages (furniture, etc..)and work ensued. Cost overages for needed electrical work (4K) were approved by me (owner). Insurance reimbursed 2.5K for this). I was told drop ceiling would cost more I agreed but no specific cost or nothing in writing. Turned out 3K more. To offset costs both parties agreed to me painting (4K on estimate). We asked for kitchen floor upgrade (2K) and then paid out of pocket for basement carpeting 1.7K). Contractors final bill came to over 28K for a 23 K bid. I refused to pay that overage. Insurance has kicked in the additional 4K payable to me and mortgage company. I have told contractor I am willing to pay them 2k out of that 4K to offset my 2k out of pocket expense. They are asking for the entire 4K plus the 2K the insurance kicked in for the electrical work. Who has the law on their side?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: New York
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: INsurance company is done. They have covered 23K (plus 2K). Mortgage company is in the loop. Otherwise, no.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Just that I believe I am in the right
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Unfortunately, if you approved the work being done and asked for upgrades, you are bound by the contract to pay the contractor's bill. If the insurance company still owes another $2K you can seek that from the insurer under breach of contract, but understand the insurer is liable to put your home back together in the same shape it was in before the damage and any upgrades are at the expense of the homeowner. Thus, if you received the benefit of the work done to the home, I am afraid that legally you are liable for it, even though it may have been over the estimate, as an estimate is just that, an educated guess at what the final bill will be, it is not a concrete price in the law.

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