Farmington, NY asked in Business Law, Construction Law and Contracts for New York

Q: Is a oral contract with a remodeling contractor who has been given the code approved plans provable in a court of law?

Hired a contractor upon receiving a written estimate. He was provided with engineered building plans and the knowledge the code enforcement was involved. I was the permit holder. He received payment in advance due to him stating he could secure financing through Synchrony bank where he is a merchant. He did not follow the plans and a stop work order was issued. There is no written contract. Do I have a case given that he did not follow the plans and the scope of work needed to pass inspections is more than he charged.

The contractor uses merchant services for his business. He essentially paid himself in full. The work is not done to code therefore will not pass inspections. I seem to be left with a damaged home with the potential of frost heaving due to him not installing the proper footers under the home.

Our case was adjourned. Small claims court seems to allow people to state things that have nothing to do with the facts of the case but more so the drama.


1 Lawyer Answer

A: Your question assumes a critical fact not established in this dispute. Just because you say the contract was oral does not make it so. IMPO, the remodeling contract you have with the contractor is clearly evidenced by the written estimate provided to you, apparently without objection. Paying the contractor in advance is more evidence that you accepted the written estimate as the contract. And--IMPO--disputing the existence of a written contract merely adds more fuel to the contractor's fire. Finally, regardless of the status of the contract between you and the contractor, both of you are at an important juncture, one which neither side will likely "win." Moreover, the contractor can place a mechanics lien against the property if you do not find room for compromise. Your best position is to bargain for a reduced total cost of the remodeling based upon the delay caused by the contractor's alleged failure to follow the plans.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.