Legal Question in Construction Law in Michigan

My question is this:

Can a person representing himself as owner of his business, contracts with you for a spec ific job, and also gives you a brochure with picture of job to be performed, But ends up doing a different type of job then demands his money or he will place a lein on my home be justified. The contract said to pay when job is done and I am 100% satisfied. I then found out he never pulled a permit, which is required, he did not have a salesmans license to sell this job and he is not the owner of the business, his wife is. The job is substandard as a state inspector stated upon inspection. The job was done on May of 2009 and in November this man finally got his buiilders license. I was told that because he did finally get his license he isnt held responsible for not being licensed at the time he sold me the job. He states that if the job performed only minimally, he has to be paid whether it passes inspection or not, and whether he did it according to what he showed me on his brochure or not he did a job. The job was waterproofing my basement, he put the drainfield in with ducttape, did not hook up the outside drain to the crock pot but left it to drain under the floor and also the tile he put in slopes away and to the other end of the house instead of the drain crock so all the water would accumulate at the end of the house and overflow from the drain tile to under the floor. I was told that although the job is unusable, I don't have a chance to gain anything in court because he did do a job. Incidentally I did not pay him yet, and he is now suing me not only for the 7600. for the job but also 22400. for late payment. I have the paperwork from the state inspector, and proof that the job was never completed. Thank You


Asked on 3/07/10, 11:51 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrew Longcore Howard PC

The question you pose seems to be very complicated with many caveats from failing to perform on a contract to misrepresentations made to induce you to make a contract.

When two parties agree to a contract both parties are required to perform to the terms of the contract unless the contract is amended. The only way you are allowed to escape your duty to perform is if the other party materially breaches the contract. Depending on your situation this might be difficult to prove. From what you have said it is difficult to determine at this time if the contractor made a material breach. It would depend on what terms were in the contract and if came anywhere near performing to those terms.

You also might have a claim that he made certain misrepresentation in order to get you to hire him. The one big thing you need to be able to show in this instance if not for those representations you would not have hired him or signed a contract with him.

There are other little things with this case that would be better served by an attorney that can see the terms of the contract and can ascertain if there might be any other defenses to his claims or potential counter claims available.

Above all you need to keep in mind the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” If other contractors would only perform this type of job for around $50,000 and this guy said he would do it for $10,000, obviously you should have known that you were not going to receive the same quality work as you would expect from other contractors. If his price was on par with others then obviously you would expect the same type of work.

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Answered on 3/12/10, 1:00 pm


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