Having a bad contractor working on one of your multi-unit properties can be frustrating, and it can become expensive pretty quickly. This type of situation requires immediate but careful action to protect your investment and your wallet. Check out some common misconceptions people have when it comes to dealing with a bad contractor that you need to avoid to mitigate your losses.
You can immediately “fire” them
Once a contractor has made a major mistake they’re not acknowledging or rectifying, it seems logical to just fire them and hire someone else. However, you must keep in mind that you signed an agreement before they started, and it is likely a legally binding contract.
To avoid exposing yourself to liability in court should they sue you for breach of contract later, document all of the times they failed to meet the contract specifics. And document your contact attempts.
Follow the correct procedures outlined in your state laws for advising a party of a breach of contract and terminating it, and follow those rules to get the contractors off the project. If you’ve paid for things in advance, you might lose this money, but it may be necessary if the work so far needs to be redone anyway.
There’s no agency to contact for help
If your contractor is licensed you can contact the entity that issued the license and explore your options. You may be able to file a formal complaint or ask for help from the license issuer. The contractor will want to keep their license in good standing, so they may respond to your concerns if the issuer is involved. Other places you can file a complaint include the Better Business Bureau and any local contractor organizations.
Suing is the first and best route
Lawsuits against a contractor could cost you more than what you lost in the end, as explored by Justin Pierce of The Washington Post. There is not really a price tag on personal satisfaction if you do take a bad contractor to court and win, but in terms of your property investment, it’s in your best interest to try to work out the issues first. Put all the problems you have with the work in writing and meet with the contractor to create an action plan.
Always research contractors before you hire them, and make sure everyone on the project is on the same page. Investing a little time before you hire a contractor can help you weed out the bad ones.
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