Contractor asking for more money

Question Icon
Posted by: from Burlington
1/23/2017 at 10:25:23 PM

We hired a contractor. He never gave us a quote and then later after half the job he handed us an invoice he had made up. He didn't finish the job and he did the work on his free time. There was a time frame when it had to be done and he never did it and now he's asking for more money. We have already gave him $2500 up to date.

What should I do in this matter? We gave him 5 months of free rent for the exchange for work he had done on the renovations.

User Icon
Date/Time1/24/2017 at 10:25:57 AM

Maybe you should give him a invoice for the five months of free rent. Obviously he needs money for something. Then open it up to discussion to how the deal was. If he doesn't like it he'll walk off or start getting upset. But you can remind him that this all can be settled in small claims court then you'll get his attention. That's the best I have to offer.

Good luck

User Icon
Date/Time1/24/2017 at 11:07:08 AM

Hi This is Jeff Shea from All-IN RENOVATIONS located in Calgary AB. You need to hire a prepaid contractor with a full disclosing contract with pay schedules listed as well as timelines. For instance when I sign a contract with clients to do their work I only get paid once a certain portion of work has been completed not until. You should get it in writing that you have swapped five months rent for work rendered. It's not too late to renegotiate and sign a contract that you can make up. Without knowing all the details it's hard for me to say which way to proceed. You can always ask a lawyer his recommendation.

Hope it works out for you both.


User Icon
Date/Time1/24/2017 at 11:10:18 AM

It's unfortunate you do not have a Written Estimate for the work required. If work begins without , then it is usually " Time and material cost", but if you both have a verbal agreement ( Written is better ) for 5 month free rent, then you may have that going for you. You must get pictures of the areas in question ( where the renovation is happening) before if possible and now, then get at least 3 Written Estimates for the complete renovation. Take this average Cost

Estimate and compare it to the 5 months rent

you have paid already , then you will see where exactly you stand ( if you owe him or if

he owes you ) if he owes you , then bill him for the balance and put a reasonable deadline

on it with note to either pay or complete the work agreed to or further action will be taken.

User Icon
Date/Time1/24/2017 at 12:07:26 PM

From the sounds of it, you contractor may in fact be a handyman that saw an opportunity. I agree with Jeff, if it were me I would produce documents showing the market value of the rental property he/she is occupying, gather all receipts for materials you've provided for the project and casually ask him/her what they usually charge per hour for their services. Then go thru it together. I;m sure this method of checks and balances will help uncover his/her intention to complete the job or at least they will vacate the property. If not, I'd go see an attorney and start eviction process and cut your losses.

Hope this helps.

User Icon
Date/Time1/24/2017 at 12:13:28 PM

Hi Ray,

Unfortunately I don't really have much to offer in the form of advice in this specific case. All I will say for the benefit of other readers, this is another example of where a project has gone wrong because of not following a proven method of hiring a contractor.

Ray, you mentioned that you hired a contractor and then said you gave him free rent; is he a contractor or a tenant? If he is a contractor then he would have been up front on all the requirements for contracts, scope of work, fees, professional designations, etc. If however he if he is a guy that is 'down on his luck' then that is a different story. One is a measurement of your rights and obligations as a consumer where the second is a measurement of your charity.

While I don't necessarily disagree with the 'barter system' the approach to the barter system is still a contract and must follow all the same requirements; you are exchanging value for value and there must be some formal record for that exchange.

If for some reason you need to follow-up with the Landlord and Tenant Board, I am not sure how you would even begin to deal with that; did he or did he not pay his rent with the exchange of work...seems too messy for me.

Sorry I can't rally offer any solid advice... but it is a good story to caution others if they are considering this approach to completing renovations in the future.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors