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Question DetailsAsked on 6/30/2016

Can I keep painters ladders if I terminated them due to not finishing timely, shoddy work, not showing up for weeks

Contract was $2200 to power wash and paint our home/garage and we paid $1100 down payment on May 5. Work was to be done in 1/2 weeks. It has been 2 months. Painter came for a few hours a few days first 2 weeks, then disappeared for 3 weeks. We sent him a certified letter stating he was breach of contract on June 6 and gave him until June 24 to complete our house and garage. In last 2 weeks he has showed up for only a couple hours 1 or 2 days each week. Enough to say he hasn't abandoned project but not enough to get anything done. The work he has done is subpar. He does not tape edges nor lay down tarps even though we have requested he do so. We have paint drips is on patio, carport and driveway as well as drips/smudges on parts of foundation he did paint. He isn't scraping and he painted over bugs, dirt. I am going to send him a termination letter and request our money back. Can I keep his ladders until we get our money or until we have to go to court. Live in Illinois.

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Unfortunately, your case has been made weaker by giving him a time extension, knowing he was painting over dirt and bugs, not tarping or taping, etc but allowing the work to proceed and not immediately requiring rework of the defective areas - he is now in a position to at least raise the issue of implied consent and approval on your part, because generally if you do not object at first knowledge of deficient work implied acceptance becomes an issue.

Also, I get the feeling you did not have a written contract - spelling out protection of items not being painted etc, though that would be implied for painting work - protection of the property against damage and reasonable cleanup afterwards by the contractor is an implied part of construction contractor scope of work.

In general, not - that would normally be unlawful detainer. To do that you would normally have to file a lien against his property (which without a court judgement in your favor would be hard to do, to prove you have an amount owed you), then "enforce" that lien by "taking possession" of his property - an awful lot of hassle for maybe a few hundred dollars (used painty value) of a few ladders.

Your best bet - you can demand your money back because of an unsatisfactory and untimely performance, but I would be careful about termination before filing a claim with his Bonding company (he was bonded, right ?) because generally when the project is "terminated" - whether by premature termination, completion and final payoff, etc the bond coverage no longer applies.

And of course, any termination action has to conform to whatever contract you had.

Because the $ amount is not likely to justify a full-blown lawsuit, if he was not bonded or the bonding company refuses to pay for rework and completion, Small Claims Court would be a possible way for you to recover damages - which might include not only the $1100 you paid but possibly the additional cost to prep the house properly for a repaint by another contractor.

And don't forget to get a lien release from his as part of the final separation agreement (and from paint supplier maybe too) - either direct from him or court-ordered.

And of course, after all is said and done, sounds like an appropriate Review on Angies List might be in order.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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