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Question DetailsAsked on 2/22/2012

My bathroom renovation is a nightmare! He said the job would last 1 week. Now 3 weeks. still not done. Can i fire him and hire someone else

Hired this guy on a referral from someone to do my bathroom and now it's hell! He said the work would take 1 week. It's now week 3 and no where close to finish. He has completely torn my house apart. There is dust everywhere, he broke a clock and never mentioned it until my sister saw it. The new bathtub is a complete mess as he has scratched it up with instruments, grouts etc.He tracks dirt in and out of the basement. All my rugs are completely ruined. He would show up for an hour and then leave to go to the store to get something then either never come back or come back late. He brings people in to do something and leaves them and only comes back to pick them up. I gave him half the deposit already. What are my options. I don't feel i need to let him continue with this work and certainly not pay him the rest of the money. Please help someone! I'm desperate. I have a sick mother at home and she cannot continue to inhale all this dust. I have respiratory health issues myself. HELP ME!

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6 Answers


Wow, Pippidge, sorry to hear about your project!

First question: Do you have a contract? This contract should spelled out the time schedule (with contingencies) and a damage or liability clause. Review this to see what options you have as far as having the additional damage paid for. Also review it for any sections that deal with separation, cease work/stop work orders, early or cancellation, etc. Find out what will happen if you fire him.

Second question: Is the "contractor" (I'll use this term lightly as to not offend real contractors) licensed and bonded? If so you can make a claim against his insurance / bond for the damages to your home.

Third question: Did you or the "contractor" pull permits for the work? If not, you may be in violoation of your local building codes, and it means the work is not being inspected by building officials for compliance and safety. If you pulled the permit, it is in your name and you are responsible for the work. If he pulled the permit, then it falls on him. You may be able to speak to a building official to have them come look at the progress and confirm the work is acceptable or sub-par, etc. Don't do this if you don't have a permit. . . don't allow any further work to continue until the builder gets a permit, though.

Fourth question: Do you have homeowner's insurance? Contact them immediately and let them know what you are dealing with (damages to your home). My company (USAA) will send out an adjuster to survey the damage and meet with the contractor to 'negotiate' repair costs (IE threaten to sue for damages). :-)

You will most likely not see any money back; you are (at this point) defending what you have and working to ensure you do not have to pay him anything further. The cost of taking this person to court, paying lawyers, etc. will most likely result in you paying any money 'returned' to your legal council. It depends on the amount of the deposit. Also be prepared to have him come after YOU for the rest of the money in court; you'll need to be prepared to show cause for firing.

Document everything; go back as far as you can accurately remember and mark the dates and times of the work being done. Take photographs of the work as it is now, the damages to the tub, clock, carpets, etc. If you allow him to continue on the job, take photos of the work after each session, and document arrival and departure times, etc. At your next doctor visit (you and your mom) disucss the dust, and get a recommendation from the doctor about the hazards of the dust, etc. (some doctors will type up a simple letter).

If you fire this person and hire another to finish his work, you will most likely end up paying more: if his quality and concern for your property is so low, what has been done will most likely be sub-par. Plus the new contractor cannot risk relying on systems or supports installed by someone else, so they will redo the work.

Finally, report this person to the Better Business Bureau and local building officials. They need to know this guy is out there.

From this situation you will be in a better position to review and correct contracts, interview (multiple) previous customers and research your contractors to ensure they have insurance, skills and professionalism in the future. A third party project manager is a good idea for any future projects that require a large investment on your part.

Best of luck with getting this situation corrected.

Answered 8 years ago by Kenny Johnson


A lot of what you can and can not do depends on the laws in your state. If you can prove he is being negligent and/or not doing the job properly you have grounds to fire him without further cause. Did he give a reason for the job going over the estimated timeframe? It sounds as though he is very disrespectful to you and your home. From a Contractor's perspective though there may be things that came up which presented additional problems (plumbing, structural, etc.) which extended the scope of the work. If this is the case he should have spoken to you about it. Either way, it is inexcusable to not put forth a full effort to get the job done in a timely manner. A good contractor will not be able to spend all day at one job while meeting with other customers, writing estimates, and handling the office duties of his business (book keeping and such) so you can't expect him to spend all day every day in your home for three weeks straight. However, from what you have described he has little interest in getting the job done. We've all had jobs "sour" on us where nothing seems to go right and problems abound, pushing us way over our intended timeline and budget. The difference is the communication necessary with the customer and explaining what's going on.

Look at your contract, make sure he has any applicable permits pulled, and have someone inspect his work thus far. If it is not up to snuff or he hasn't followed the law as it applies to your remodel fire him. Document everything. Having your local municipality on your side as Kenny mentioned will help. Most are quite cooperative with homeowners (often more so than with contractors), especially when you explain how you were taken for a ride and if he did not pull the permits if there are any required in your area.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services


I appreciate all the input so far but to date as I'm typing this, the bathroom is still not done. I fired him last week and told him I needed my deposit back. When he came to get his tools out my house, I asked him for my deposit and he said the bathroom was half completed. At that time, there was only the bathtub installed and part of the tiles on with grout....nothing else. He then told me to give him til last saturday and if the work was not done, I don't have to pay him anything. I went with that and the work is still not done. From then to now, all the other stuff has gone in, however, there are little things not done that still makes the bathroom not completed. I don't have a shower head installed, so i definitely can't use the shower. In any case, the long and short of it is; it's all on me as there was no contract drawn and signed and I didn't ask for licenses. Totally my fault...but we live and learn. Right now, I just need him to get his stuff out of my house so i can call a cleaning company to clean the mess in my house.

Answered 8 years ago by pippidge


Wow, didn't finish and keeping his tools stored there! If you feel you have gotten your money's worth in the work he has done let him have the tools. If not keep them until money is returned. Also, before letting him take his tools if not returning money have the work checked. Once he has his tools and is gone you'll have no further recourse. Definitely a lesson learned but could have been much worse. Best wishes in your future remodeling projects. Remember, not all of us contractors are crooks but you'll have to do some checking before hiring one. Did he ever have access to the key to your home? If so have the locks rekeyed since this relationship turned out the way it did.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services



You are not mentioning any contract in place so I'm asuming that there's none?

A bathroom remodel can take anywhere from a week and half to four weeks it all depends on how much work it's involve, it looks like this man is not very experience on his crafts. But you shall always have a contract document in place, describing the work. At this point you dont feel confident in this person and I can understand why, don't know how much of the deposit you have give him, but it may be best to considered that you hire him to do the demo, and fire him and contract someone that can really perform the work, follow and finish it! Please remember to have a contract in hand, follow by insurances.

Best of Luck

jca finishing, llc.

Answered 8 years ago by John Acerbi


I hope you didn't pay him up front. Fire the bum and take him to small claims court where you don't need a lawyer.

Answered 8 years ago by username

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