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Question DetailsAsked on 7/29/2017

Sticky situation with contractor....

Hello, my contractor neglected to pull an electrical and plumbing permit doing work for a basement Reno. We have a contract that all permits are included. The town came by and shut him down and stated they may have to pull walls down to inspect electrical that wasn't inspected. Now my wife and I work while he is here so we just assumed work was being inspected and permitted per the contract. He has not called or emailed me back since the town came by two days ago to be shut down. He has tools and supplies still in our basement. How long should I wait till I file an official complaint or outright fire him unless he finally gets back to me and agrees to make things right. In otherwords what are our options moving forward.

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1 Answer


Assuming he knows the inspector issued a shutdown order (commonly posted at jobsite, they do not necessarily contact the contractor so if you do not KNOW he has seen it contact him about it), be sure to make a copy of the shutdown notice for your files, then send him a firmly worded letter (I would use certified return receipt signature required mail) stating you expect him to immediately get all necessary permits and get the inspections caught up to date and you will not be paying any more on the job until he does so, will not pay anything extra for the tearout and replacement needed for the inspection as a result ofhis failure to get needed inspections, and that failure to do so within X days (say 10-14 days to be reasonable) will result in your calling his Bond to have the work done by another contractor and terminating his contract. Or you could do the initial part first, hold the Bond threat to a second stage if you think he may come clean on this.

Be cautious on firing him, because some bonding contracts only cover jobs while under contract - cancel the contract and you may lose the bonding protection too. (He is bonded, right ?)

Here is a related question FYI too:

IF he is not licensed (both contractor license and business license) and bonded, then depending on whether he was required to be so by law, you may have civil court (lawsuit) recourse against him, and in a few states there are state compensation funds for people stiffed by contractors - though at least some of those are only for LICENSED contractor issues, because the funding comes from contractor licensing fees. In some jurisdictions doing work as a contractor without appropriate licenses is also criminal fraud.

Also if not properly licensed or bonded (if required by law) you might also have recourse for compnesation for fraud against his business and possibly even personal (homeowner's) insurance policy - though generally you would have to get a judgement in court to potentially recover from them.

And of course if he does not get this cleaned up ASAP, you should probably be talking to an attorney familiar with construction contract and lien issues.

And of course, after all is said and done, appropriate honest Reviews on Angies list and Yelp and such might be in order, and you have the option of reporting him to the state contractor board about this failure.

And remember, by the end of this exercise, you should have in hand (signed and dated by both parties) a contract modification or dissolution agreement clearly stating the total payment for the work done (which may be zero in some cases), a PAID IN FULL invoice showing totals and any deposits or progress payments paid and any refunds received so there is clear showing that you have paid all due and have received any refund of overpayments due. You also should get a lien release from him at the same time - as well as lien releases from any subcontractors and any substantial materials suppliers to him.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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