Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Difficult Contractor

The Difficult Contractor


Please excuse the delay in posting. The last few weeks have been quite busy. In a recent post I discussed how to deal with difficult homeowners. Now it is time to focus on the difficult contractor. What kinds of actions do contractors take that make life difficult for the homeowner?

The first action is actually the opposite. The most common problem for homeowners is the contractor’s failure to show up at the work site on a regular basis. Jobs that are scheduled to be completed within a certain amount of time end up getting dragged out, and the homeowners despair as their home remains a construction site. The contractor has not abandoned the job, so the homeowner cannot claim that the contract has been terminated, but the work is taking forever. What can a homeowner do?

First, this problem must be addressed in the contract itself. There should be a provision that states that the contractor will be on site for a number of days or hours per week. If the contractor does not follow this schedule for a certain number of weeks, there should be penalties built in, or a point where the contract has been breached, and the homeowner may hire another contractor to complete the job and mitigate damages.

If the contract does not address this issue, the homeowner should schedule an appointment to meet with the contractor and write a revised schedule that is agreed to and signed by both sides. It ought to address the issues that are listed above for the original contract.

If the contractor will not meet with the homeowner, then the homeowner should send a demand letter with a proposed schedule. The homeowner may invite the contractor to submit a counter proposal. If the contractor fails to respond, the homeowner must state a date by which the contractor will be deemed in breach, and then the homeowner may hire another company to finish the job.

When a contractor fails to show up, the homeowner feels helpless. The procedures described above help the homeowner regain control over the job. After all, it’s his or her house.

The next post will be The Difficult Contractor – Part 2.

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