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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I had major damage to my house that is covered by my homeowners

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I had major damage to my house that is covered by my homeowner's insurance. Since January 8, I have been put up in a hotel paid for by insurance. The amount of coverage for hotel will be used up on April 26. I have been in the hotel since January 11. My household was packed up in two PODS, and drywall removed, upstairs carpet removed, kitchen cabinets & bath cabinets removed, tile in bathrooms removed. It wasn't until April 1 that the drywall was repaired and the painting completed. The contractor has been uncooperative, and lollygagging around, even though I did finally get a timeline, I never did get an amended timeline. All the work was to be done by April 2, including the pack out. Painting was to be done by March 8. I picked the contractor, the insurance company did not. Contractor is trying to blame me for delays due to wanting upgrades and not making selections timely -- but that is a lie, and I have proof of being cooperative, and of them not providing selections until recently, and me responding within hours/24 hours or less. I have a "final" check made out to me and the contractor, which I am holding, even though I did endorse it -- per attorney, this may belong in a trust account to be dispersed in increments. I see attorney for free consult today -- but it looks like he is more in dealing with insurance, not with contractor, per website. Atty was recommended by another lawyer. This contractor's employees have been a problem since the git-go, making promises and not following thru. And, I have been ignorant in not getting a contract specifying work to be done and when. But, isn't this an inordinate amount of time? What recourse do I have to get them to work and put my house back together properly with upgrades, or to get another contractor(s). What can atty do for me, and what should I be expected to pay atty out of pocket. This is a nighmare, and I really, though smart, do not know what to do, and hoping this atty can help.

Thank you for your question.

I've represented hundreds of clients in your situation in connection with the insurance claim. You are correct that the attorney will generally only handle the insurance claim and will not assist you with the contractor unless you separately engage him/her to do that.

Did you pick the contractor or did the insurance adjuster?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I picked the contractor. :-(
Well, in this situation, the claim against the contractor for delay (which may end up exhausting your coverage for temporary housing) is going to be one that is separate and apart from the insurance company (there are not facts which support finding it is the insurance company's fault for the delays).

The best thing you can do is to engage your lawyer separately to handle a claim against the contractor for the delays. The contractor is responsible for any damages or expenses to you because of the delays which are not your fault. Since you can show that it is not your fault and instead that the contractor has not been performing in a timely manner and has been missing deadlines, you will be able to show that this is a breach of contract and negligence.

This would be something that you would likely have to pay your lawyer in a separate amount of fees to handle.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I did not have deadlines written into contract, but I did finally get a timeline which was not kept or amended. Everything was to be done by Apr 2 per timeline! The atty I found may not have experience with this, but more with insurance claims. Should I be concerned? I am screwed huh? Live & learn. This is a nightmare. I think 1500 for up to 10 hous is ok? Any grounds to company to state re contractors license?
You can argue that the timeline was an amendment to the contract, however, if there was no specific agreement to get the job done at a specific time in the contract and language surrounding what it means to have a delay, it is not a "sure win." If your attorney will put pressure on the contractor, that may be all you need. In the end you need the house done before your temporary housing benefits end. As long as that happens you will be ok.

10 hours for 1500 is a good deal.

As far as reporting the contractor to the state, not really. The state doesn't take action unless the contractor's work hurts someone or if the contractor runs away with your money.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating does not cause an additional charge and will not prevent us from further working together on your questions.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks. Isn't there something that I can say is reasonable as far as time to repair? Almost four months, and only drywall removed, replaced, prepping for and painting, and putting in baseboards is quite absurd, don't you think? Anyway, I'm not a lawyer, but that's what I think. (I won a case for CBP at the CIT, though. Well the case was mine, but the lawyers one it with my assistance!) I could go to a kitchen and bathroom remodel place and get this done within a week; and I could go to a carpet and tile place and get this done within a week as well. These guys just were negligent and did not care at all. OK, I won't bother you anymore and will give you an excellent rate, after you respond to this! Thanks much.

I think there is definitely an argument on "reasonableness". In fact the law states that where there is no deadline in a contract, performance must be accomplished on a reasonable time frame. Thus, what you have to prove is unreasonable delay.

Thanks for the rating in advance and I hope this helped.

Good Luck,
TexLaw and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Please help, the nightmare continues. The contractor keeps foisting more and more on me. I am still in hotel, paying for it out of my pocket since Insurance no longer pays as of April 26. I won' give all the nasty details, but this contractor & its employees are manipulative, nasty, liars, fail to perform work timely, are unreasonable, do shabby work, have created air in my house so full of construction & drywall dust thatair quality could not be checked by inspector, they hold me hostage for payment for unfinished work, had pod unloaded by laborers in hazmat suits with double respirator masks. I need good legal counsel. This contractor thinks he will get away with this, as I am a single 60 year old female who has cried in front of them many times & allowed them to get away with their crap. And they have probably gotten away with his before. But, I intend to take my stand for justice. How do I find, or do you know of a good construction contracts attorney? I need good legal counsel in Broward County Florida, someone who believes in & advocates for justice & fairness. Also note that I want to report the company for insurance fraud for work they did not do, & for padding the bill for man hours that were not worked. I also want to report the contractor for not getting permits to reconstruct my bathrooms & kitchen hope you have a good response.

Unfortunately, the website does not allow us to refer customers to specific attorneys.

In regard to finding a construction lawyer, your best best is to contact the Broward County Bar Association at:

Again, the claim against your contractor is for breach of contract and delay. You need to request a construction lawyer to handle this claim.

Sorry that I can't be of more help here, but I'm sure that the Bar Association will be able to refer you to a capable lawyer that handles this exact kind of case.