Any payments made should be in accordance with signed contract you have. If the contract specifies (which it should) work to be completed and materials to be supplied before the next progress payment is issued, that is what must occur. Any changes in the contract must be done so by addendum signed by all parties who signed the original contract.
In addition a time line for completion of the project should have been established in the contract and with a few exceptions (labor strike, unavailability of materials, acts of gad, etc) should be adhered to with in reason. In my experience contractors who do not communicate with their clients or "duck them" are hiding something. Your contractor should allow 15-20 minutes daily at the end of each day to discuss the project, project time line, potential problems, and answer any questions you may have (with in reason of course) with either himself or his lead carpenter.
It is unprofessional and unreasonable to expect any homeowner to leave the door unlocked while their home is unattended. A professional contractor will install a lock box on the property so sub-contractors or anyone else for the purpose of construction or inspection can enter the property.
My advices is do not issue any more payments until the work and materials are caught up to where they should be. If he walks your state should have a contractor recovery fund that will help you recoup some of the costs. You can also file suit. Your state department of professional and occupational regulation maybe able to provide you with more specific information on contract requirements. They do not settle disputes but will punish licensed contractors practicing unethically.
If the contractor is unlicensed report him to dpor and the state prosecutor.
If you feel you need to provide more detail or have more questions you do not want to list here feel free to contact me privately. I think you will find that most of the professionals monitoring this site are ethical and empathetic.
Thanks so much, ARI001. What you have said makes perfect sense, it's just disheartening to have a project this important to us be treated so carelessly/callously.
Unfortunately our contract does not have any of the required information (I am kicking myself hard for allowing work to start without putting into place more specifics as I'm usually overly detail oriented) such as start and/or completion dates. I definitely put too much trust into our arrangement.
If he walks at this point, we will be out about $1,000. It could be worse.
Check your state laws on contracting. Most States require: start and estimated completion dates, along with license information, contact numbers, physical address of contractor, payment/draw schedules, and warranty information. In my state if you don't have that information in your contract a court can rule it unenforceable as it required to be there by state law. It always surprises how many contractors don't know much about the most important tool they have and what is required to be in it by law.
Great, it makes sense! Anyone can be a victim of fraud because of unlicensed and illegitimate contractor. People should practice checking their contractor's licensed first in everything to avoid something go wrong.
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