Q: What is the best legal action to motivate a contractor to complete a project and what are our rights as homeowners?
Currently in the middle of contract for a home addition that was signed December 2021. The project officially began 2/9/22, blueprints were finalized 6/24/22, and permit were pulled 7/29/22. At this point I would say the project is about 40% done. We have paid 90% of the contract. After the contractor deposited the most recent payment it appears they have slowed down the pace even more. Communication has also been sparse. We have been advised our best course of action would be a certified demand letter with a hard completion date. Also when asked for them to provide names of the subcontractors they said they paid for electrical/plumbing we were told they don’t have to give that to us. The Illinois Home Repaid Act seems to learn towards granting us rights to know who will be working on and in our home.
Under Section 5 of the Mechanics Lien Act, the contractor is required to provide you with a sworn statement listing all the subcontractors, their trades and contract amounts before any money is due if you request the information. The statute provides:
"It shall be the duty of the contractor to give the owner, and the duty of the owner to require of the contractor, before the owner or his agent, architect, or superintendent shall pay or cause to be paid to the contractor or to his order any moneys or other consideration due or to become due to the contractor, or make or cause to be made to the contractor any advancement of any moneys or any other consideration, a statement in writing, under oath or verified by affidavit, of the names and addresses of all parties furnishing labor, services, material, fixtures, apparatus or machinery, forms or form work and of the amounts due or to become due to each."
Of course you have the disadvantage of having paid considerably more than the value of the work performed and so the contractor has more leverage. But the advice you received seems sound. Don't forget to request the subcontractor information in the same correspondence.
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