What is the best way to deal with a contractor that does not pay his subtrades?

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Posted by: from Delta
1/20/2015 at 9:46:31 PM

Lets say there's a house in Delta, BC and the contractor has hired a concrete cutting company to cut in some window into the basement area. If the work was done in the first week of November and the contractor has not paid them.

What's the best way to deal with it? They are threatening to put a lien on the house and take the contractor to court. How should this be handled?

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Date/Time1/20/2015 at 10:38:58 PM


The Builder's Lien Act allows the customer to hold back 10% of the contract or invoice for 45 days in Alberta. I believe it is the same in B.C.

If the sub trade is threatening to slap a lien on your house he may be bluffing as he only has 45 days to file any claim.

I suggest you arrange for a meeting with your builder to discuss.

He may have a valid reason not to pay him. This is usually the case if you have hired a professional reputable Builder. Give him the benefit of doubt. If you are not satisfied after the meeting then fire him and get another. Also report him to the Better Business Bureau and any other builder associations that may be in the area.

If you have paid him too much then you may have to go to mediation or arbitration to recover any losses.


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Date/Time1/21/2015 at 10:43:46 AM

David, If you are not directly involved, then stay out of it. It is a matter between the contractor and the sub-contractor. You could have an issue if the primary contractor is sued in that he/she may not be able to continue working on the residence due to legal issues. Check the contract and consider a different contractor to finish the job.

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Date/Time1/24/2015 at 11:31:05 AM

Just one other thing to mention. When the client pays the general contractor, he should give you a release or proof that he has payed his subs. If not I would not pay the general because you can also become involved in there problems.

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