Our General Contractor asked for checks which we now realize were very far ahead of milestones in the contract. He is now dragging his feet on ordering materials. What should we do? Should we send him a letter stating the total payment amount relative to the contract total along with a list of work still to be performed to document where we are? We know that if he refuses to do work unless we give him more money that it is a police matter. It hasn't come to that, but there have been significant delays in work. This is an extensive remodeling project, total value in realm of $500K.
2 Answers from Attorneys
First, you have done the right thing by keeping track of the work and the progress payments. The letter is a good idea. Explain your concerns and ask for a recovery plan within a reasonable time. That will either have the effect of getting the work back on track or documenting the problem if you need that later. Don't put more money to the job unless the work gets back on track. Read the contract to see what it says about the application of funds. A well-drafted contract will require that the contractor apply all progress payments to work on the job. If it has a clause like that, remind the contractor that you know about it. Be very cautious about change orders. Contractors who get in trouble will sometimes try to confuse the work and payment situation by funded and unfunded change orders, little favors, and other changes that can confuse what was in the original contract. Feel free to call.
See also: http://info.corbettlaw.net/lawguru.htm
You want to be very careful here. With this much money involved, you want to do all that you can to get him moving and keep him moving to get your renovations done correctly. Do not sign anything until you have a lawyer look all of this over.
I can explain things in detail. Why don't you come see me. I will meet with you and go over your situation. I will explain what legal issues I see, and what I can do to assist you. I will also give you my best estimate of the cost for attorney's fees.
This will be a free consultation. After we talk, you can decide what you would like to do.
Give me a call, make an appointment to come see me, and let's get moving on this for you. No charge for the telephone call and no charge for the first office visit.
Robert Davies, Esq. 201-820-3460
The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
45 Essex Street, Suite 3 West
Hackensack New Jersey 07601
Please keep in mind that my response is just a general comment on your question, and not legal advice. I have answered based upon the law of the State of New Jersey where I practice; the laws in other states may be very different, and may result in very different outcomes. Your question and any response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between you and this law firm. The exact details of your situation and things that you have not mentioned in your question can completely change the response I gave. You can not rely upon what I have written as legal advice, because I do not have all of the information that I need to advise you, I only have the very small amount of information that you put into your question. To get legal advice that you can rely on and use, please contact me directly.
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