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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55303
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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My landlords realized it was time to replace our flooring in

Customer Question

My landlords realized it was time to replace our flooring in my home. They got some quotes from some people and decided on this one licensed (C=15 license too) installer that had pretty great reviews. He physically came out to my property, looked around, measured then gave us a quote for the whole project, $3,000. It was fair and then we asked how long it would take to do the install, he told us two days. We said thats great, myself and my children were going to be out of town for almost a week so he said they would start on Monday and finish on Tuesday. That was totally fine because we weren't going to be back until Friday so even if something happen to come up or it took a little longer it allowed a cushion. Mind you he said after physically walking the property and measuring 2 days!
I get back Friday night from a long drive from Montana back to Long Beach, CA and there is not ONE room done. Not one room is even 1/5 done and this is 5 days into the project. Turns out only one guy has been on the job site doing the work and he has a helper who has just been carrying boxes of laminate up and carpet and demo stuff down. Come to find out that the guy who is doing the work is more of a carpet guy who knows how to lay the laminate flooring but thats not his specialty area. So its just been him doing the whole project. We call Mark the flooring contractor and said what is going on? You said 2 days, its been 5 and basically demo has been done and hardly any flooring has gone down and I am back. He said he would come over, never did. The next day there was one or two other guys who came and helped out for several hours then left (that was Saturday) I asked Skip the carpet guy who is installing the flooring when it was going to be done, he said Tuesday. Skip came by himself and worked on Sunday. No one came on Monday, the 4th of July, I check back Tuesday not done, yesterday I checked ( Wednesday) not done and here it is Thursday and my children and I have for the past 6 days, today is the 7th, have had no where to go. Had to find lodging on a holiday weekend, spent a ton of money eating out every day, have been very stressed not having our belongings and access to our home. My house is a disaster, they put my white sectional up on its sides with out putting padding or a box or something to protect it from the dirt of the work site so now both sides are disgusting and dirty. He has been cutting the flooring on my patio and there is saw there, piles of wood all around and tons and tons of sawdust that is now coating my patio and house. Not to mention I saw my drill out and it had their bit on it. I hid it in the bathroom then the next day it was out again. I took pictures of my drill, the way they stored my white brand new sectional( the dirt all over the sides) the messy patio site, etc. My landlady has been keeping a record of who has been there working and for how long. Sometimes he won't show up until 11 or 12. Mark, the contactor knows we are back and has made zero effort to get this job done anywhere near the timeline he gave. My landlords have been so apologetic. My landlady tried calling Mark three times over the weekend and he never called back. She got a call the beginning of this week and he was asking for the rest of his money. She said no, not until the job is done and we do a walk through and talk about a discount. The job was suppose to be done in 2 days, it has 11 days. The job is for $3,000, my landlady has paid 1500 so we have 1500 more due. My question is what can we discount on our final payment for the amount of money I am out, the stress that my kids are under, the days where my house wasn't habitable, the rent I paid and couldn't even live in my home, the damage to my sectional which now has to be professionally cleaned, etc. Even if we graced them 3 additional days on top of the 2 they said it would take to do it that would still leave 6 days where I have had to go through this. My thought was getting a professional opinion and then when my landlords write the final check they attach a paper saying there was a charge for each day beyond the time it was suppose to be done and a three day grace period and say hey, if you don't like it take us to small claims court and good luck. You physically came to the space yourself, gave us a price and timeline, didn't follow it, we gave you three more days, still didn't happen and you did nothing to speed up the process or honor your word. No judge would rule in his favor. What are your thoughts and what legally can we do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Hi Nicki. My name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today! It will take me just a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

I agree with you totally. The contractor is in breach of contract and that breach has caused damages and the contractor should be responsible for those damages. If the contractor is not willing to pay those damages to your satisfaction, I would raise the stakes on the contractor. Send him a certified, return receipt requested letter detailing the history and his default, and demand he pay the damages resulting from his default within a short specified period of time. Inform them that if he does not timely comply with your demand, you will have no choice but to file a suit for your damages. BUT, be sure to specifically mention that you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as gross negligence, fraud and deceptive trade practice causes of action, which will entitle you not only to your damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your suit. Even if you have to file the suit, that's likely all you will need do. In my experience, he will settle this without a hearing rather than risk punitive damages and the judgments being on the record.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I appreciate your fast response how ever my main question was are we able to take a certain amount of money off the final payment for each day past the two days he told us and the nice 3 day grace period we are considering alloting him?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that would be in addition to having my sectional professionally cleaned? So that was my question are we legally able to write him a check for the remaining amount owed, minus a daily fee penalty and the cleaning of my sectional?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
how much daily is reasonable? I mean I paid rent and could not live in my home, and it was a holiday weekend so hotels were very expensive. Plus the food cost and inconvenience. We just want to be fair but still he is responsible.
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Yes, you are. BUT, before I would pay him any additional amounts, I would make your demands. You have more leverage when you owe him money. So, when there is a problem such as yours, you really don't want to pay the contractor until there is a satisfactory resolution. A reasonable daily rate is the cost of the hotel.

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