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Question DetailsAsked on 3/5/2017

What do we do next?

We added on to existing cabin. Contract states completion within 9 months we are going on 2.5 YEARS.The contractor stopped working on it until we showed up for weeks at a time. They sent us a bill for overages at the tune of $42,000.00 with no communication about it at all. The overages are for thing that are in the contract. We gave them a punch list for things that still needed to be completed and we got another bill. Any ideas on what to do next?

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1 Answer


Obviously you are WAYYY past the point where steps should have been taken - but you don't need me to tell you that. Considering the time elapsed (which allows him several openings regarding the issue of "implied consent" on your part to the delay, and inflation escalators, etc) and the large $ amount of his claim (assuming this is not a million dollar job), I would say time to find an attorney specializing in contract law and good experience in residential construction contract disputes. And no, Angies List does not list/review attorneys - something about not wanting to swim with sharks or such I suspect.

Probably the first thing the attorney will recommend is sending a certified return receipt signature required letter from the attorney (on your behalf) demanding completion with X days or you will initiate a claim on his bond (or termination of the contract if that is the desired result or he is unbonded), and denying the $42K additional amount because the items listed are part of the base contrat already. That will put you in a stronger position and put the ball back in the contractor's court.

There are other things like suing and/or filing complaints with the state licensing board and the state or local business license agency to put more pressure on him.

Also, you do not indicate if this was being done under an "estimate" (ouch), or a firm price contract or bid, because that makes a lot of difference regarding your ability to limit his overrun claims (assuming they cannot be justified to your satisfaction) or to get his bonding company (he was Bonded, right) to finish the job per the original contract and contract price.

Be sure, by the time all is settled out, that you end up with lien releases for him, his subcontractors, and substantial suppliers so he (or subs or vendors) does not later hit you with liens against the property.

Here are links to a couple of previous similar questions with answers which might help also:

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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