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Question DetailsAsked on 7/31/2016

Contractor set move in date, with less than 32 hours. The work is not complete, what can I do?

My contractor assured us they would be well out of the house before our move in date of Aug 1st.
We have less than 32 hours, the inside of the house was supposed to be complete, and cleaned from top to bottom.
I have in text message him assuring us he would be out of the house, however the cleaning portion was a verbal agreement.
What can I do? What course of action can I take at this point.
I've spoken with him many times concerning this, he and his boss have basically told me that they will get some but not all of the work completed and that they would sweep and mop the floors.
I had major work completed due to a hail storm, ceilings replaced, texture, paint, you name it. There is dust on the walls, the blinds, materials and trash strung throughout the house. Windows with texture and paint on them. Bathrooms that are completely soiled in dust grime and yes bodily fluids on the toilets.
I have been firm on them getting to my home to complete the job as it was discussed. not budging.

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1 Answer


Part of a contractor's scope is "broom cleaning" the work area - so dusting walls and ceilings if he created significant dust, sweeping floors at a minimum - mop if needed to remove visible dirt like plaster dust. The new work (as opposed to general work area) should be wiped clean (walls, fixtures, appliances, flooring, etc) to "new" condition.

If not completing on time, then unless your contract has specific clauses regarding liquidated damages for being late, your option is to notify him (by return receipt or registered mail) you will be withholding your living expenses from his payment until it is ready to move in - which could be (reasonable) motel/hotel costs, difference between eating out and eating at home (probably using federal pear diem rates meals allowance as a basis), and maybe laundry costs. And temporary moving and storage costs for possessions if you have to be out of the place you are currently in.

The other is to call his bond - to get the bonding company to get the work done (though obviously will not be by the deadline) and to pay for living expenses for your till it is ready to move in. However, it is commonly weeks before they respond so that is not a very viable option.

The other, particularly if the certified mail letter does not get action, is to have an attorney draft up a letter to him on his contractual responsibilities and liabilities and threatening to sue him for the delay.

Your other option - though good documentation and witnesses would be a necessity for this, would be if the work is done and only the cleanup is left, is notify him (return receipt mail again) that if the cleanup is not done within say 2 days of sending the letter you will hire a housecleaning company to do a complete house cleaning, and deduct that from his payment.

Of course, with only 32 hours to go to move-in time (less now), there is no way any of these are going to meet that deadline.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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