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 09-01-2005, 21:24 Post: 115795
bcripe

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Hi guys. I hired a contractor to put a foundation under my house (it was on blocks). We agreed to a price, everything included. My wife was there as a witness. It was to be done in 9-10 working days. Well as the job progressed he started to not remember the "everything is included" deal. He finished after about 30 working days and gave me a bill for the job plus some materials. These were sills, foam, etc.. I went ahead and paid the bill even though it was abou $1100 more than he originally quoted. Now a couple of weeks later he dropped off a bill (in my mailbox) from one of his subcontractors (plumbing) for $1750 for reconnecting my plumbing. The bill is to me but I have never spoken or even seen this sub. I just dont think thats right. Especially since I heard the sub was here for only about an hour and the only materials he replaced is some PVC pipe that the contractor broke in the first place. Plus it was all supposed to be included in the first place.

What do I do? Any words of wisdom?

Thanks,
BC






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 09-01-2005, 21:36 Post: 115797
kwschumm



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Contact your local construction contractors board. Did you get the contract in writing? That would help.






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 09-01-2005, 21:45 Post: 115799
Peters

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Definately pigeon bait. I had a few quotes like this and I am sure they are looking for a quick score. Often contractors will low ball a job to get it and then add material etc to sweeten their deal. I agree you need to check this guy out.






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 09-01-2005, 23:31 Post: 115808
bcripe

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Thanks fellas, I will search for the contractors board. I do have the initial agreement from the one contractor in writing but it is not super specific. What happens if I dont pay the sub? #1 I think somethings up. $1750 for rehooking up one sewer pipe and one water line. Plus I had no knowledge of any of that. It was to be "handled". Can he put a lien on my place even though I never even heard of him?

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BC






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 09-01-2005, 23:49 Post: 115809
kwschumm



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Not sure what your state laws are but he can likely put a lien on your house. They like to abuse that capability to extort money out of people.

We had a situation like this when we built our house. The finish carpenter (who USED to be a good friend of our GC) quoted us a price in writing. As construction proceeded there were adds and deletes from the job, none of it in writing. He verbally assured myself, my wife, and the GC that the changes were a wash and we were on budget. But he fell way behind on the job and refused the GC's offer to bring in additional help. He was trying to do all the finish carpentry in a 4000 sf custom home by himself. The GC was putting a lot of pressure on him to catch up, but he put us six weeks behind schedule and the GC and him had huge arguments over it. He finally finished the job, then billed $15k over the contractual price and claimed he had to do a lot of additional work, like reinstall all the doors (originally installed by another crew) and rebuild the stairway framing (originally done by the rough carpenters). That was the first anyone heard of the extra work. I was on site nearly every day and never saw him do anything extra. We refused to pay and he placed a lien on our house. We and the GC hired a lawyer to issue a demand letter that the lien be released, and it was. We agreed to arbitration through the contractors board and had a rather unpleasant meeting with all parties on site. The arbitrator ruled against the finish carpenter and all turned out well. A bunch of BS really, all caused by a guy who couldn't do the job on schedule and then got pissed off when he was pressured to finish.






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 09-02-2005, 14:39 Post: 115847
denwood



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I am just finishing up schooling to get my real estate license. In PA where I am, a contractor can put a lien on you but if you have a mortgage, the contractor cannot force forclosure. If he doesn't do anything for 2 years, which he cannot with a mortgage, it is void. I asked a contractor friend about it and he said it has and is happening to him now. Nothing he can do about it unless the guy sells or the bank forcloses. Another intersting item is that it is possible to record several notices, with different stipulations that only the general cont. may place liens, or that no one may place a lien on your property if a tennant orders the improvement. It must be posted after it is recorded and you may get protest from any contractor about to do work for you, but it can be done. I am going to do it as we are letting my inlaws build a house on our property and I darn sure don't want any problems with looser contractors.






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 09-04-2005, 20:04 Post: 115928
earthwrks

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In Michigan, for him to put a lien on the property he would generally have to have a written contract---but not always-- with you or the general contractor. If you refused to pay he could then take you to court. If he won a judgement against you, then he can file a lien but not until then. I have done work for local builders who told me they won't pay me---simple as that. Talked to a few lawyers and they told me I could file what is called a "clouded title" against all 66 parcels of his so that when someone wanted to buy it they would find that money was owed to me and therefore couldn't or wouldn't want it until I was paid off. Long story short: Builder paid me in full.

Also in Mi it is law that you have a Waiver of Lien which is up to the homeowner to get when the contractor gets every payment draw. This is certified by contractor that he has paid all workers and suppliers. Without it if a subcontractor or supplier can prove he worked or provided materials and wasn't paid, he can go after you since it is up to you to know who worked on your site or priovided materials. I know owners of lumber yards and concrete suppliers who regularly have to lien a customer's home when a contractor doesn't pay them. But it rest with the homeowner to get a Wavier of Lien. Without it you are a sitting duck.






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 09-04-2005, 22:12 Post: 115930
funchy



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Some contractors just do this. They don't care because they know you can't easily hire a new contractor when they leave your home in pieces and they have your deposit money. And then they'll insist the new fees are "industry standard".

If you refuse to pay this bill, is the work sufficiently done that it won't keep you from using your home? If that's the case, I'd tell him I'm not paying since it wasn't in the original contract. Let him threaten to sue... it's his problem then, not yours.

Either way he can't order a sub to do work above and beyond his contract, then just have the bill sent to your house. He's acting as general contractor so that fee should've been somewhere in his quote (or clearly stated otherwise in writing).

You can try reporting him to the state liscensing dept, BBB, and state consumer protection division (usually part of state Attorney General's office).

Best of luck to you!






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 09-18-2005, 11:12 Post: 116597
bcripe

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Ok well it looks like the sub is going to charge me $1750 + $56 late fee (I recieved the bill 30 days late btw) and I have 10 days to pay or he is putting a lien on my place. He did about 5 hours of work. I talked to him and he told me that the contractor had him out a time or two and wasnt ready for him and he charges full rate for that ($65 hour (twice local rate)). He also charges full rate for travel time. I guess he lives about 2 hours away. I told him I would pay a fair amount but not $1750. I guess all that I can do is contact a lawyer on Monday. I just hate to be screwed like this.

BC






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 09-18-2005, 20:20 Post: 116607
earthwrks

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You can see a lawyer, but it might be more productive to call your state's governing body who regulates his licensure. So ask him for his license and make a complaint, and if he won't comply make a complaint anyway---that will get him off your back. Also find out through court records if he has a habit of doing this to other people and bring that as evidence. He can't just say "I'll put a lien on your property" (though like I said before in my state he can cloud the title)---he has to get a judgement from a court---in which he will have to show a contract with you that was breached---otherwise, it's just hearsay. It may turn out you will have to sue the original contractor or both. It is not your problem the other guy took too long---how do you know that they don't do this all the time? It would amount to extortion. I'm a contractor and I can't tell you how many times my schedule is held up because of somebody else. Good luck, but don't give up.






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