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Question DetailsAsked on 9/5/2016

Does florida law require contractor to show a receipt for material purchased on behalf of home owner

Contracted for $10,500 for a fixed price contract + material to remodel. Termite and water damage was found and repaired beyond the scope of contract. No change order was drawn up and no price was ever given until after I thought I had made a final payment. I did agree to pay for extra work after house sold. I also agreed to pay for some plants, mulch and a table and chairs. I agreed to nothing else. After paying the original price I was give a bill for an additional $9,000+ for labor which is not unreasonable. However I was also presented a bill for $4000+ for material and refuse to show what for. I had already payed 25,977 for material,toilets,etc and thought I had paid everything. Shame on me for trusting a contractor.

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3 Answers


Hope you are not so bitter about all contractors - and bear in mind since you did not modify the contract as conditions changed, you bear at least a good portion of the responsibility.

1) Leaving materials cost reimnbursement or cost-plus left things a bit open ended, but with $10,500 fixed labor and overhead plus $9000 "change order" for the water and termite damage, $25,977 would be in the normal range for materials assuming normal grade - not high-end - about 50%. Bumping that up to $29,977 would make the materials total 60% of the job - really rare unless the materials were pretty high-end.

2) Lacking specific pre-agreement on the materials being purchased (like initialing off on purchase lists as prepared), $4000 additional materials for $9000 additional labor and overhead would be well in the normal range for water and termite damage repair - about 1/3 materials would be normal for framing and subfloor repairs, whereas bathrooms and interior finish remodeling tends to work up to more in the 35-50% of total job cost range commonly.

3) Of course the contract SHOULD have had specific term(s) concerning proof of purchase, receipt copies to be attached to billings, provisions for your pre-approval of what materials were going to be purchased for at least major purchases, etc. But, even without that, if the materials were to be cost reimbursable or cost-plus under the contract, certainly you have a right to see proof of the payments on his part to document his billng - plus get lien releases on all major suppliers (as well as from him) to protect yourself in case he did not actually pay them. That would be covered under standard provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code - which as aI recall all states except Louisiana have adopted. This would include receipts for the $25K payment as well as for the $4K, if you desired.

4) Such would NOT be the case if the entire job had been lump-sum, because in that case what he spent on labor or materials or such would be of concern only if he were trying to negotiate a change order for additional costs, in which case both what he had spent to date and projected overruns would be subject to negotiation and your concurrence.

5) Bottom line - if the $4K was specifically for the wter and termite damage materials it sounds like likely legit - but if the $25K payment overlaps that work and payment period then of course you need to be looking at the legitimacy of all the materials charges.

6) Lesson to be learned - stay with pre-determined lump sum contracted pricing where feasible, unit pricing where lump-sum is not feasible to predetermine (common with in-ground work like bedrock removal in basements, wells where depth is not know up front, etc) - or if due to new scope (change of scope or additional work not anticipated like your water and termite damage) then negotiate that additional work and materials costs as soon as feasible - like as soon as the damaged areas are opened up to the point the scope of remediation can feasibly be determined.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


I really appreciate your quick response. One point of clarification I paid the bill for all materials, including the cost of water and termite damage and they provided those receipts. Thet went to their suplier and I provided my debit card each time. The extra $4,000, I was not aware of, is the real issue. They refuse to provide receipts and simply say I owe them. Can a contractor simply say I owe the money and not state what I am paying for.

Answered 3 years ago by Guy123


Well, I guess he "can" send you a bill without justification for the cost - but you don't have to pay it without agreeing to the amount.

You might want to google the following search phrase and do a bit of reading on required disclosures and the requirements about home improvement contracts having to be in writing, becauase he may have shot himself in the foot by not doing written change orders as well - Do florida home improvement contracts have to be in writing

I would do a certified return receipt addressee signature-required letter to him itemizing the fixed-cost (plus water/termite change) amounts and the materials amounts your debit card paid for and stating you believe that you have paid in full all amounts due for the work, tht because you believe you have paid all agreed upon amounts that the undocumented $4000 bill is rejected because of that and because he has refused to provide documentation to justify it, and that if he believes you owe him more he will have to provide documentation justifying the additional amount for you to review.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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