What to do if contractor wants money before work is complete?

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Posted by: from Wilkins
2/21/2016 at 5:55:06 PM

Work was done on our apt with no permit by a contractor but we did have a written contract. He did 3/4 of the work and now wants to be paid in full. He now wants all his money and won't finish. Says if we don't pay him he will report us for no permit.

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Date/Time2/21/2016 at 8:16:43 PM

If a permit is needed you should have had a permit. Your contractor should also know when a permit is needed. If you don't want to get a permit then it can be on you. He or she can still do do the work up to code. However when ever a permit is needed it is best to get one.

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Date/Time2/21/2016 at 8:49:11 PM

Do not pay. If you agreed to have him do work without a permit. Shame on you. He knows better. If you were unaware than even worse for him. As the home owners, tell him you will report him to the municipality for a breach of ethics commitment. He can be fined heavily for doing work that should of required permits. This is on him, not you. I would also get a lawyer and possibly sue him. It's guys like that that make the legitimate contractors look bad.

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Mina from MGM Dream Homes in Pickering
Date/Time2/21/2016 at 8:50:31 PM

If the permit is needed you should get one. The onus will fall on the homeowner more than the contractor for doing the work without a permit. Its also a good idea to have a payment schedule as part of your written agreement so both side can feel comfortable.

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Date/Time2/21/2016 at 9:16:15 PM

Depending on the amount owed the contractor may have ran out of funds due to a bad estimation on your project, most contractors aren't rich and when this occurs they need the money to finish the job, they are usually too embarrassed to admit they had made a mistake and need the funds to complete the project. But in this case if a permit is needed the contractor is responsible for knowing wether or not a permit is needed. If he knowingly did the work knowing that a permit was needed you can report him. You should always obtain a permit tho. Not worth the consequences.

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Date/Time2/21/2016 at 10:23:16 PM

Not every project required a permit. Worst case scenario if he reported you you could still apply for a permit at any time and should be no problem as long as the work done by code.

I think much better if you talk to him with a positive attitude and try to understand his reasons of asking to get paid in advance and to sort it out without any fighting.

Looks like he did a good job so far and project was fine till this point comes up, so try to solve this issue logically with him on the way that make both of you feel satisfied.

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Date/Time2/22/2016 at 11:57:36 AM


The responsibility is on both of you, contractor and owner (client). You started the job, and you both know that it will be done without referring to a permit; so, bylaw, both of you legal wise hold responsible; but, the contractor should have not agreed on starting the job knowing that it needs a permit, he is the professional and he knows better;as for the payments, if both of you are willing to finish the job as agreed upon, client can pay the money through a third trustful party (for example: the bank) and a 10% retention of the amount is to be held, until the job is done.

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Date/Time2/22/2016 at 4:52:49 PM

Two questions:

1- are you in a town house or condo complex with a board of directors?

2- what were the major construction components to your reno. If walls were moved did you take pictures during?

Any "structural changes".

In any event a contractor threatening you is simply holding a gun to his head and saying if you won't pay me I am going to pull the trigger... let him... he won't, he'll be in more trouble than you.

Glenn Hunter


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Thomas from Trusted Trades in Mount Forest
Date/Time2/27/2016 at 9:49:29 AM

A lot of good responses so far but I'll have to side with M & D Buildings. Remind yourself of the contract and the payment schedule. Of you are dishonoring the payment schedule that could be a red flag to him.

No contractor works out of pocket.. Its bad business. Its a trust game and if you didn't trust him from the beginning you need to work out comfortable parameters. Again he seems like a guy that worked and is trustworthy but didnt handle confrontation well. Don't fault him yet and jump to harsh decisions.

Try and work it out positively and be understanding- My advice is suggest breaking that last payment up into 2 if not 3 installments.

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Arturo from Java Painting in Surrey
Date/Time3/3/2016 at 1:55:45 AM

Is bad. We normally get the 25% starting any project rest at final when the customer is 100% HAPPY.

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