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IANAL45

Contractor Dispute - Can/Should I Sue?

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My father contracted with a painting company to paint the metal roof of his house a year ago. The contractor chose and purchased the paint himself and the job was completed last November (2015). By April 2016, the paint had started to blister and peel and got worse and worse as summer progressed. Now, a year later, the paint job looks terrible.

 

The contract stated "<company name> hereby guarantees all work for a period of (2) two years... Nov. 20, 2015 - Nov. 20, 2017" and "All defects occurring with [sic] the warranty period shall be replaced or repaired at no cost to the customer." (Two exceptions for this warranty are listed, neither of which applies here.)

 

This seems pretty cut and dried to me. The contractor warranted the work. The work is obviously defective. He is now responsible for repairs.

 

However, the contractor has been seemingly deliberately unreachable, has delayed responding to my father's complaints, has claimed he was sending a paint sample for lab analysis (months ago, with no further progress), and, at this point, has essentially refused to take responsibility for the defects in his work.

 

What should my father's next step be? Should he ask a lawyer to send a threatening letter? Should he file suit (breach of contract?)? Try to place a lien on the man's business? My father lives in Virginia, but the contractor is based in Tennessee. Would that matter as to his course of action? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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1 hour ago, IANAL45 said:

What should my father's next step be? Should he ask a lawyer to send a threatening letter? Should he file suit (breach of contract?)? Try to place a lien on the man's business?

 

Your father has no ability to place a lien against the contractor's business unless he first sues and wins a judgment.  Since your father's attempts to resolve this have apparently been unsuccessful, a letter from a lawyer wouldn't be an unreasonable.  Another option would be a complaint to the Board for Contractors and, if Virginia requires contractors to be bonded, a bond claim.  Of course, if the contractor isn't licensed in VA, then those things wouldn't work.

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1 hour ago, doucar said:

Was the contractor licensed in Virginia? Is the contractor an individual or corporation?

 

I'm not sure if he's licensed in VA. I could not find the business on VA's DPOR website, so I guess he's not licensed.

 

It's a company, not an individual.

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13 minutes ago, pg1067 said:

 

Your father has no ability to place a lien against the contractor's business unless he first sues and wins a judgment.  Since your father's attempts to resolve this have apparently been unsuccessful, a letter from a lawyer wouldn't be an unreasonable.  Another option would be a complaint to the Board for Contractors and, if Virginia requires contractors to be bonded, a bond claim.  Of course, if the contractor isn't licensed in VA, then those things wouldn't work.

 

Ok, thanks. I don't think he's licensed in VA. Any advice on what such a letter should say? Should we find a lawyer in TN or VA?

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1 hour ago, IANAL45 said:
1 hour ago, pg1067 said:

Since your father's attempts to resolve this have apparently been unsuccessful, a letter from a lawyer wouldn't be an unreasonable.

 

Any advice on what such a letter should say?

 

If your father gets a lawyer to write a letter, I'm sure that lawyer will know what to say and wouldn't welcome input from anonymous strangers on the internet.  :-)

 

 

1 hour ago, IANAL45 said:

Should we find a lawyer in TN or VA?

 

For purposes of a demand letter, it doesn't matter.  If your father ends up suing, I'm guessing that could be done in small claims court.  While suing in TN probably would be preferable (since that's where the contractor presumably has most or all of its assets), a suit certainly could be filed in VA since that's where the work was performed (although small claims court rules sometimes prohibit or restrict suits against non-resident defendants).

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