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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35853
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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My home obtained substantial water damage due to a broken

Customer Question

My home obtained substantial water damage due to a broken pipe. Many items such as flooring, cabinets, drywall, etc., required repairing or replacing. I hired a license contractor to repair my home back to its initial state before the water damage and I received a bill for the work. Later I requested interior upgrades (ex: from carpeting to wood flooring, from laminate counter tops to granite, etc), so now I received 2 bills, one for the upgrades and one for the initial work (which is ok by me). Bill #1 was for the initial repairs had all items listed on it that was repaired. Bill # 2 had the upgrades listed. I noticed that both bills had kitchen cabinets listed, but with 2 different prices. Before I had a chance to mention it to the contractor, later on I received another bill. This was a combined bill listing everything that was done. I noticed that the cabinets were only listed once, but the amount for 2 cabinets was still factored in. The contractor changed figures on other items to keep the same amount (but deleted the listing of the second cabinets). The first bill had cabinets priced at $8,200. The 2nd bill had cabinets listed at $7,300 (which is correct). The final bill has the cabinets listed for $7,300, but the amount of $8,200 was factored in by increasing other figures. In addition, the contractor did sloppy and incomplete work. I asked them to correct and complete the work. The request was fore-filled, but I keep finding additional items incomplete and with poor craftsmanship (uneven and chipped floor tiles and cracks in the wood, etc). My questions are:
1. What are my options as to how to handle the bill on the over charges and changing figures?
2. The contractor keeps asking me for payment, but there are still problems that needs addressing. Can I withhold payment?
3. Can I fire the contractor and have another contractor to correct the errors?
4. How do I go about deducting payment for poor craftsmanship?
5. Can I use the insurance money I received that was for the first contractor to pay the second contractor for correcting the poor craftsmanship?
Ps. I notified my insurance company, but the basically are trying to stay clear of this matter since they already issued payment to me.
Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 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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Have you paid the contractor anything yet?

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Have you gotten estimates from other contractors for the cost of repairing their shoddy work?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hello...the insurance company gave me over $56,000. I paid about $30,000....the upgrades I paid about $6,000....I still owe about $25,000
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Hello...the insurance company gave me over $56,000. I paid about $30,000....the upgrades I paid about $6,000....I still owe about $25,000. Also, Im waiting for an estimate of repairs from another contractor
Expert:  Barrister replied 8 months ago.

Ok, if you still owe the contractor money, then you can withhold payment until he performs all the jobs in a "workmanlike manner". You need to compile a "punch list" of things that are defective or need to be corrected and send it to him certified mail as well as regular mail.

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Then you have to give him a reasonable amount of time to cure the problems, maybe 10 days, before you can terminate him and then move on to hiring another contractor to come in and finish the job.

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You need to put in the letter that this is his "notice to cure" and if he fails to do so, you will consider him in breach of contract and you will terminate and find another contractor to make repairs.

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As for the changing figures, I would get copies of everything and then send a separate letter asking for an explanation of each individual item that was bumped up in price to make up for his initial mistake in the cost of things. He basically padded other items in order to make up for the incorrect price on the cabinets and other things.. You can hold his feet to the fire about this an demand the lower price unless he can explain the upcharge.

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thanks

Barrister

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