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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I red a contractor to replace my redwood deck. He gave me a

Customer Question

I hired a contractor to replace my redwood deck. He gave me a bid of $16,000 which included materials. He used dyed Douglas fir. The stairs don't meet code. He has run up the bill to $19,000 and wants another $ 1000 to stain and seal the deck. He wants me to pay for the sander and the sealer. I don't think he can seal the wood he used. What can I do to get him off my back and get quality workmanship rather than substandard workmanship which is what I have now?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.

Dear Customer,

I am sorry to learn of this issue.

Ultimately, your remedy is going to be to sue the contractor in small claims court for breach of contract (see: Small claims allows you to sue for "amounts in dispute" of up to $7,500.00 (in your case, the amount in dispute is going to be the cost to have another contractor come and fix or repair the deck to the condition it should have been in.

(If your deck requires complete replacement, and thus exceeds this dollar threshold, you will need to sue in general civil court, which gets a little more complicated, but follows the same basic principles).

Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.

You can also file a consumer complaint against your contractor (here:, they can investigate the matter and take administrative action to discipline the contractor (but they will not prosecute your individual rights - so they cannot get your money back, etc.).

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