Legal Question in Construction Law in North Carolina

My husband was hired by a contractor to fix a small bathroom in a house that the contractor had damaged while sanding the floors. My husband is not licensed, just works as a handyman as a side job. The contractor that hired him knew upfront that my husband had another full time job and that this work would have to be completed after hours, when he was not working his other job. My husband also told the contractor that he generally charges $25 an hour for these types of jobs.The contractor called today and said the homeowner had fired them from the job because she was not happy with the work and said it was taking to long. My husbands verbal agreement was with the contractor and not the homeowner, as the contractor was the one to pay my husband for the work because the contractor was the one who caused the damage. Now the contractor says he will not pay my husband for his work he has already completed on the bathroom because the homeowner is not going to pay him. My husband asked for the homeowner's number to speak with her to find out exactly why she was unhappy and try to resolve any issues she has. The contractor refused to give him the homeowners number in order to do so. So, for one thing, my husband is not even certain the contractor is being honest with him about the homeowner or anything. My husband would just like to be paid for the time he spent in trying to fix the damage that the contractor caused. My husband mentioned getting a lawyer to the contractor and the contractor stated he will not deal with any lawyers but would be happy to go before a church council regarding the matter. I have never even heard of that. Does he have any legal recourse?

Asked on 1/14/13, 11:54 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jeff Rosner Rosner Law Firm P.A.
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From the facts as you stated - the contractor has a duty to pay your husband. Your husband can also go over to the homeowner's house and knock on the door if he wanted to get some more information but either way it is irrelevant whether the homeowner paid the contractor.

If the contractor does not want to deal with lawyers - that is his business. He will need to either hire a lawyer or defend himself. The court will not care that he does not want to deal with lawyers. If the amount owed is less than $5,000, the simplest thing is to file a small claims action. Obtaining a judgment against the contractor is the first step. The next step is trying to collect the judgment which may be harder.

- Jeff

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1/15/13, 9:00 am

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