I'm a first-timer to your Newsgroup.
I was wondering if I may get some legal advice on a home improvement project
that went very bad. I live in the State of New Jersey.
Home Improvement gone bad- chimney liner:
The project started with being red-tagged from my local gas company because
my water heater flue was back-drafting and the fumes where venting directly
into my living space.
I hired a local chimney contractor to install a chimney liner because my
chimney was to big to draw the air properly. To make a long story kind of
short.....1. the contractor forgot to turn off my heater while working and
the heating system "calf" the soot and soil all through out my home. I
immediately asked him to come look at the damage to my home, he refused and
said it was just a bit of dust. 2. Also, the contractor forgot to seal off
the area he was working in so the immediate living space was soiled due to
cutting through the masonry wall to the chimney's existing flue. The damage
to my home was so great that I received nose bleeds, headaches, and was sick
to my stomach. I couldn't live in my home till the toxic mater was cleaned
Consequently to correct this matter, I had set up an appointment with the
chimney contractor to come and view the damages two days. He stated on the
phone that he would be willing to pay my homeowner's deductible but was not
willing to report the claim to his insurance company. I said this was not
expectable to me. He said when he would come over we could try to work
something out in a friendly fashion. He missed the appointment and never
returned my follow-up call. I proceeded to have my homeowners insurance
company come and clean-up my heating ducts/system, and my whole interior of
my home and property...a four day clean up with five person team. I live in
a three story townhouse 1,800 SF. I live and work from home and need to have
the clean happen ASAP.
The contractor whom caused the damage showed up at my doorstep a week after
the accident. He only showed up at my doorstep unannounced because I
canceled payment for his work done. (The chimney is working correctly and
the gas company has since removed the red-tagged and I can use the water
heater.) He claims he couldn't make the appointment due to he was in a car
accident. I said I was sorry to hear that but this is business and he should
of had his insurance agent contacted me directly. He wanted to get pay and
didn't want to furnish me with his company's insurance information
(certificate of insurance). He said since the clean up was almost complete
that his insurance company would not pay for the damages. I informed him
that my insurance company took picture and wrote a report as did the
professional cleaning up company and would forward the information to his
company. I stated it is in the hands of the insurance companies. He still
refused to supply me with this information and I said I will not pay him
till this matter is resolved. He was screaming at me at this point.....tons
of drama that scared me. I just shut my door on him. He screamed he was
going to go to the police, I said good. I then dialed 911 and the police
took my statement.
When the police arrived at my home they stated; it's against the law not to
pay him the contractor for his work done even thought his work cause
considerable damage to my home. That damage was a civil matter only. The
officer state I must pay the contractor in 10 day after I receive his
certified letter requesting payment or I will have to go to court for a
criminal offense. Is this correct? Will I be issued a summons to go to court
for a criminal offense because this contractor didn't do his work in a
workman like manner; as it is stated in is his proposal/contract of work
rendered? And I refuse to pay till the matter is settled? Don't I have the
right to receive his insurance company information?
Thank you for reading this explanation. I would appreciate any advise this
forum may have to offer.