I have a contract with a contractor that was put together in September 2007. We agreed on a price of $25,000 for an attic renovation to make it a loft space (25x28').
I gave him $13,000 upon contract agreement based on TWO things - one, I would pull the permit, two, he asked me to clear out my garage to store the material (which I expected to see within a few days) I know you don't give that much to a contractor up front, but I figured it would be OK because the guy lives on my block and his daughter goes to school with my daughter.
When I went to pull the permit, I met with some resistance in terms of back taxes (car) and other bills, so the permit wasn't obtained until the following year (September 2008).
I was given the architectural drawings right away ($1,500 of the $13,000 I had given him) and another $1,000 for a small change I requested. When it came time to get started September 2008 there were a few excuses (rain this weekend, finishing up another job, I had to move some wires first for him, etc). before you knew it, the season had gone by "weather-wise". I had also given him another $1,500 toward the completion balance that was agreed upon ($3,000 due at work completion, then $500/week to pay off the remaining $9,000)
In March/April of 2009 my daughter informed me that her friend (his daughter) may have to move due to foreclosure of their home. I, needless to say, was mortified that he may leave the area with my money. They worked out their issue with the bank and were now staying
. (Sigh of relief)
We had a conversation regarding startup of the work and that's when he informed me that he had given the majority of the money to a friend that was going to sub for him during the work. (???) Apparently, he claims the monies given to the sub was LESS than the PROFIT the sub would make, so since the job never started (I guess due to me getting the permit a year later), the sub was able to KEEP the money as if it was a deposit on a canceled order. (???) He still said he was "on-board" with the job, but asked if I could buy the material on a credit card ($6,000).
It took a while, but now ALL of the material (except the roof shingles and related roofing items) are sitting around my house under tarps. Now he asked me to buy a nail gun (his broke) and still has not started the job due to weather and a possible court case he has to deal with regarding some other job he "brokered" (he did no work, but is being held accountable for overages that the contractor who did the work charged the customer).
Do I have ANY leg to stand on legally? The contract was put into effect September 2007, he hasn't done a thing and I have laid out $15,500 ($2,500 to architect, $13,000 to him) along with nearly $4,000 in material as of now.
I need to get the work done, but cannot lay out any more money. Also, if I sue him I doubt he has anything to sue for. Can I put a lien on his house? If so, what can I expect since it was nearly foreclosed on just over a year ago?
Thanks In Advance