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Question DetailsAsked on 8/1/2014

Is loosing trust in the contractor's ability to do the job correctly, sufficient to cancel a contract.

I'm in the midst of a bath remodel. The demo took six hours and there was another six hours of drywall repair prior to doing the tile. That took place over a month ago and nothing has been done since. Calls are not returned. Apparently the contractor lost his star employee who does the tile work. The reviews for this guy were one of the reasons I hired this specific contractor in the first place. Now the reviews are all D's and F's, specifically mentioning poor tile installation, as well as mechanics liens and undocumented workers. Even the contractor had mentioned that he only trusted this star tile worker to do the job correctly, so I'm worried. I've got $1,500 in 3/4" glass tile sitting here waiting and I certainly don't want to pay to have him screw it up.

Is loosing trust in the contractor's ability to do the job correctly sufficient to take this to Conflict Resolution and is that the best way to cancel the contract.

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Just losing confidence is cause for firing an employee but is generally not adequate cause for terminating a contract unless it had a "due diligence, effort and satisfaction" or similar clause, which it would have only if you put it in - certainly not what a contractor wants in a contract. However, it certainly is cause to address the situation with him and make a reasonable demand that he meet with you and demonstrate his ability to complete the job adequately by showing how he is going to replace the tile guy and complete the work. This letter might include an out for him, allowing for a contract renegotiaiton to terminate work and settle on X dollars total compensation to him and immediate refund to you of all other funds - if he is in trouble he might take that out and settle with you.

Unfortunately, unless you identified the tile guy as a "key employee" who's work on the job was required, his leaving does not justify termination of the contractor.

Since not returning calls and no work for a month his due diligence and reasonable effort is certainly in question and that is an inherent requirement in a contract, I would send him a registered letter to his place of business stating that it appears he has abandoned the job,, and demanding back X dollars of your deposit, if more than he is likely owed for work to date. State also that if he does not recommence work by a certain date after the date fo the letter, you are prepared to call his bond.

Also, if he does not respond to your letter (and keep copies and documentation of ALL contacts past and future), then dispute resolution or more is certainly in the picture. My opinion - it might lead to termination, but I would get an attorney involved on that to make certain that you do not give up rights to refund, lose warranty for any completed work, lose right to call his bond for completion if that is what you want to do, settle officially before getting lien releases, etc.

If you can prove that mechanics liens are being filed against him (typically at County Recorders or Clerks office), then that would likely constitute probable cause to terminate him for financial unsuitability and financial risk of liens to your property. I would certainly require a lien release up front (and request so in the letter) for all subs he has used to date if their work is complete (or being terminated), and for the tile purchase if he purchased it instead of you. And of coursemake sure no liens have been filed against your address.

Also, if the contract had a completion date on it (PLEASE say it did, though SO many homeowners do NOT mandate a start work and completion date), you are hard pressed to terminate him or call his bond until it is evident that he cannot reasonably complete the work by the contractual completion date.

Certainly, if work does recommence, I would make certain to be there for the start of tiling (actual placement of the tile) so you can say right off the bat to stop if the workmanship is poor - twisted tiles, uneven grout line width, goofy cut locations (like front edges instead of back corners or very narrow cut pieces), uneven surface, etc.

As you can see, there are a lot of contingent items to consider, and I am sure I only mentioned half or less - so if a letter does not get things started or terminated ASAP, probably time to talk to an attorney and start on calling his bond.

BTW - here is a link to a prior question on dispute resolution and evaluating work done for sufficiency that might be of interrest to you -

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


I would say "no", but it's been a month with no progress, and no comunication from the contractor, you could cancel for those reasons.

Answered 5 years ago by TLD

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