Legal Question in Construction Law in New Jersey

I paid a licensed home improvement contractor 50% deposit in June 2013 to finish my basement in NewJersey. The contract conditions state that I have to pay the remaining 50% in 12 equal monthly installments. I decided to go with him from a reference I got, whose basement he finished 2 years ago. He had provided me basement drawings for the permit in the same month. In the meanwhile, I also appointed his services for a painting job in the other rooms of the house (separate contract) and he sent an unlicensed worker and the quality of his work was extremely poor, such that I had to get the room painted by another painter afterwards. Since then I've come to learn he uses cheap day labour who are not professionals and they do a very sloppy job, from another friend whose basement he's currently working on. I had made the contractor aware in July that I was not happy with the painting work and have lost trust in his services and do not wish to go forward with either of the contracts (painting or basement) and I want both my deposits back. While I got the painting deposit back, he has not refunded my basement deposit which is a huge amout of money. I also have not paid him any monthly payments (besides the initial 50%) since I decided to terminate the contract and no work was started on the basement.

He's very reluctant to even talk about returning my money, when I tried to get it back from him a couple of months ago. He has been giving me the run-around saying he's going to talk to his lawyer etc about a "Contract Release Form" and that he will recover from my deposit, what profits he would have made had he performed the job, even though not a single thing has been done on my basement yet. I'm concerned since my money has been with him for so long and nothing has been done yet. What options are available for me to get my deposit amount back in full? Thank you for any advice.

Asked on 10/15/13, 9:51 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

John Corbett Corbett Law Firm LLC

It is difficult to say what your rights might be without reading the contracts. In general, you do not have the right to cancel one contract because of poor performance on an entirely different contract. However, if your communications with the contractor constitute a demand for assurances, the law might be different. Before you commit to anything, you should review the matter with a lawyer and understand your rights. It is also possible that your position can be improved by being able to document your position before the situation blows up completely.

I handle matters of this type, however the efficiencies in this matter may be influenced by your lawyer's location. (You did not give enough information for me to tell if our Burlington County NJ office can help.) If I can be of further help to you, call or email.

See also:

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Answered on 10/15/13, 10:50 am
John Manfredonia Manfredonia Law Offices, LLC

I agree with the above assessment. Lawyer should also examine whether contract complies with Consumer Fraud Act, and if not, does this provide further support for termination.

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Answered on 10/15/13, 11:39 am
Robert Davies The Davies Law Firm, P.A.

There is a lot at risk here, and you do not want to lose all of that.

You need a lawyer to sit down with you and give you some advice.

I can explain things in detail in person after we talk. I will explain what legal issues I see, and what I can do to assist you.

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

Phone: 201-820-3459

Fax: 201-820-3461

Email: [email protected]



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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Answered on 10/16/13, 9:30 am

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