What to Do When a Contractor Does Poor Work

paint, boards and other supplies for home renovation project

Homeowners always start out home renovation projects or new home builds excited about what could be. They envision a home that’s the envy of the whole block. The work they’re requesting might scale from minor updates (new kitchen backsplash and hardwood floors) to major overalls (converting a patio or garage into an additional bedroom) or a completely new home build. But what do you do when a contractor does poor work?

For a number of reasons, projects don’t always go according to plan. Best-case scenario, that might mean it takes a little more time or money than you anticipated. Worst-case scenario, the contractor doesn’t complete the work properly — or at all. This was the real-life nightmare for the owners of one Bethesda home, reported The Washington Post. The project was a renovation of a basement with a powder room and a full bath. The contractors had cut into the joists of the floor above to run the ductwork, leaving the floor 298 percent overloaded. They had to hire a new contractor to rebuild the first floor from underneath. In the end, the owners only had enough money to pay to get their home fixed back to how it was before. They sued the first contractor and decided to sell the house without renovating it, according to The Washington Post.

What should you do when a contractor does poor work?

Here are some options:

1. Withhold payments.

If you haven’t started the job yet, avoid paying the contractor in full at the beginning of the project. This gives you room to withhold payments if the job gets abandoned or if the work is faulty. Once the work is completed correctly, then you can make the final payment in confidence. If the work isn’t something you could confidently “check” yourself and you’re concerned, consider hiring a third-party inspector to validate the work was done properly before writing the last check.

2. File a formal complaint to the agency that licensed them.

Before you hire a contractor, always ask for their license number and the government agency they are licensed through. Then, verify it with that agency. As an example, you can verify a state-licensed contractor in Florida via the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website. On the same site, you can also file a complaint against the licensee or the individual you suspect of doing unlicensed activity. The county or state that issued your contractor’s license is a good place to start to get your dispute settled.

3. File a lawsuit.

As a last resort, you may decide to sue the contractor. Check to see if the amount of money you’re trying to recoup would fall below your state’s small-claims court threshold. If so, the system is set up so that citizens can handle the process themselves, without requiring an attorney. If it’s higher, a civil case is an option. Due to attorney fees, the amount you’re seeking would have to really be significant to make the lawsuit a fruitful financial venture.

When a contractor does poor work, it can cause you time, money and headaches. There’s another option that can help to offset the financial burden of a home renovation or new build gone bad. Consider selling your property to a homebuying company, such as The Buy Guys. We pay cash for houses “as is” in Florida, Georgia and Texas. That means we buy them in any condition. If we’re able to make you an offer, you don’t have to make any repairs to the property to sell it. Additionally, the virtual process is quick and easy.

To find out how much your home is worth, give us a call at (888) 204-7603 for a free estimate in minutes.


Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. The Buy Guys does not make any guarantees about the sufficiency of the content in or linked to from this blog post or that it is compliant with current law. The content within this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice or legal services. You should not rely on this information for any purpose without consulting a licensed lawyer in your area.