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Contractor Issues / Mini-Series, Part 3

Homeowners will hire a general contractor to perform renovation projects on their properties. But the general contractor may not perform all of the work him or herself. Sometimes the contractor will make agreements with other contractors (aka subcontractors) to assist with various aspects of the project. An example could be hiring a subcontractor to perform electrical or plumbing work. The homeowner is not in contract with the subcontractor, rather the subcontractor and the general contractor have their own separate agreement within the scope of the contract between the homeowner and general contractor. Thus, a subcontractor can still be liable for faulty work. There are many issues that happen with subcontractors and general contractors. One common issue is that the general contractor fails to pay the subcontractor for work performed. This could be because the general contractor decides to get greedy, or didn't budget properly and is now short on cash to pay for the work. Or, maybe the homeowner didn't like the work and now the general contractor is fighting with the homeowner about compensation. As a subcontractor who substantially performed his or her end of the bargain, he or she is entitled to payment from the general contractor. Often times some of these sub contracts are handshake agreements which can pose their own sort of problems. If the work was to be performed within one year, then the subcontractor can argue the existence of an enforceable contract. But if the work was to take greater than a year to perform then the lack of a signed agreement between the parties can create a statute of frauds defense for the general contractor. Thus, we recommend to always have work be reduced to a writing and signed to protect everyone. If you are a subcontractor and haven't been paid for work performed, please contact our office for a free consultation.

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