AVVO Q&A #10: Hired licensed general contractor and they failed 6 inspections. Work is sloppy – can I withhold final payment.

Under-Construction Image for BlogCONTINUED QUESTION: Hired to repair cracks, replace windows and doors and seal and paint house. They delivered cheap product – some of which was different from original agreement. They took advantage of us as we were in a rush to get our home back after a serious mold problem. They have had to redo everything several times and have damaged window treatments, alarm wiring and lawn in the process. They have repeatedly failed inspections, have made excuses for delays and have been very unprofessional. If and when they pass final inspection, can I withhold final payment and/or sue them? What is the best way to approach this?

ANSWER:  I have no idea if your problem is a large one or small one, financially speaking. Are the problems all resolved now? Is the remaining problem that you are experiencing “just” frustration? These questions and many more should be discussed with a Florida Bar Board Certified Construction Attorney. That attorney will advise you regarding each of the items raised including, a Florida Statute 558 notice, what does your contract provide for dispute resolution, are attorney’s fees recoverable etc. Options include small claims court or arbitration without counsel, giving the contractor bad reviews online, contacting the Better Business Bureau, complaining to the Construction Industry Licensing Board and more. To get a handle on the problem, call a competent construction litigation attorney and get some advice. It could save you a bundle.

Good luck with getting the work done. Living in a constant state of construction and disorganization can be draining. Best regards.

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