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Contractor abandons job, leaves tools behind.

 
Mike
Trenton
4/10/2011 at 11:02:10 PM
We recently had water come in our basement, and used our insurance company to get a contractor to come in and clean up/repair. The contractor showed up, ripped out the old carpet and set up a dehumidifier and fans to dry out the concrete. He said he would be back in a couple days to check moisture levels. He never showed up. About 3 weeks goes by, and we finally hear from the insurance adjuster that the quoted amount from the contractor exceeds our $10k coverage. We opted for the buy out. It has been 45 days since we last heard from the contractor, and his dehumidifier and fans are still in my basement. I have tried calling the contractor, but have been unable to get ahold of him. I have left messages, but they are not returned.

So my question is, what do I do with his stuff?? I have moved them into the garage so that the other contractor can come in and install new carpet...but how long do I reasonably have to hang on to this stuff?? It is quite a bit of gear, and is in the way. How long until I can legally assume ownership of the equipment??
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RESPONSES
4/11/2011 at 11:47:07 AM
Hi Mike,

That is strange, and a bit concerning.
Who knows the reasoning behind why he would leave his tools and equipment behind.
I would try and contact him a few more times, and then call the police if you are unable to reach him. They should know what can legally be done,as you are not his keeper of his things.
One would hope he just went on a vacation and would be back soon, and that he is not injured or worse.
I wouldn't throw his things out, because he could come back at you for taking away his livelihood.
I think the best bet is the police.
Good Luck.

Bill Clawsie
Clawsie Contracting
416-579-7366
4/12/2011 at 3:25:24 PM
Good advice Bill. Police will track this guy down for you Mike. Even if he went on holidays, professional courtesy says he should have let you know that. Chances are he landed a bigger paying job than yours & forgot about you. Find out where his home/shop is- perhaps you could dump his crap off there.
5/17/2011 at 10:40:11 AM
Hi Mike,

Just a shot in the dark but why not give the insurance company that called in the contractor in the first place a call. He may not take your calls but I am pretty confidant he likes working with insurance claims and will certainly take their calls. Explain to your broker what happened and let them deal with it. That's what you pay all those premiums for anyways.....It's worth a try.
Stephanie
St Albert
6/30/2011 at 7:44:40 AM
When a contractor walks out and you've taken a payout from the insurance company - they (the insurance company) has washed their hands of you. You have essentially become your own general contractor (which saves the insurance company $$$ and hassle).

It would seem that your only recourse is to do what you can to locate the contractor, work through the BBB - if they are a member and possibly even take them to small claims court if necessary.

Finally, since the contractor left his tools (and probably some materials behind) you might want to contact your Land Titles office and ensure that he/she didn't put a lien on the property. It would not be the first time someone received this kind of nasty surprise without any forwarning.
 
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