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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37392
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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Had a contractor do work on a rental property. Paid him half

Customer Question

Had a contractor do work on a rental property. Paid him half and he demanded payment of final balance before work was done. I set up the transfer and discovered that the paint job was incomplete and would need to be done over and several repair items were not completed. I paused the transfer and tried to contact him. He ignored my texts, email and had other people answer my calls. Instead of calling me back or replying he took to threatening me. Now he sends a text to say he is suing me in small claims court. The contractor and the house are in GA and I am in PA. Does he have grounds to sue me? Do I counter sue him? I have no physical address for him and he claims he has mine from the internet (most likely my work address).
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: The house and the contractor are in GA
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: I live in PA
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: No
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 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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If his work is substandard and will have to be done over, then you would have grounds to counter sue him for breach of contract if he actually tried to sue you.

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If he sued you, he would have to first have you served with a summons and on that summons would be his address so you could get estimates for having the work redone and then counter sue him for breach.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks. He would have to have me served here in PA although he is in GA?
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.

Correct. He has to get personal jurisdiction over you and would have to have you served in PA but could compel you to come to GA to defend since you own property there and have "sufficient minimum contacts" in order for GA to exert jurisdiction over you.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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And for what it is worth, most contractors are just blowhards where they are all bark and no bite and rarely follow through with filing suit..

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks again. The balance he is planning to sue for is $777.00. I guess he will spend at least half that much filing and hiring a server rtc. to have me served out of state. Really annoying situation and costly for me as I had to hire someone else to finish the work and am now loosing out on getting the place rented while buying materials twice. Sad, but lesson learned.
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.

Yes, I have been a landlord for over 26 years and learned early that the contractors who want to be paid up front are usually shady if they don't have the funds to even buy materials for a job... I never pay up front...they know where the property is and can always lien it if I don't pay... But it is much harder to get your money back out of a deadbeat contractor as they typically have is spent as soon as it hits their hands..

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks again. I'll wait to see if I get served at work or if he has found my address in PA, at home. If so, I have no qualms about going to court on the matter. I documented the shady work and have receipts for the work done to fix it. Hopefully that will be a satisfactory answer in court. I have never had an issue with a contractor before and most of the people I have used in the past were fairly decent. If compelled to pay in court, I will pay just to avoid a lien on the house. But honestly, the guy does not deserve to be paid. The work was really bad and his bully tactics have simply turned me off. He had other people answer when I called him and refused to reply to voice mails, texts or email until he realized the money had not gone through. Then he took to threatening me and having other people text me threats.
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time.

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Have a great evening!

Barrister