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Contractor failed to finish job and abandoned tools - Now he wants his tools back 19 days later

AlabamaNotice of Intent to Lien

On November 1st I hired a tile person to complete a job. He started the job, then did not finish the job. He basically texted me on November 20th he could not finish the job. He left all his tools, put me in a very stressful situation as I had on 3 days to have the tile job finished before renters arrived. It ended up costing me almost $400.00 more than his quote. I also had to go myself and collect all his tools. I never heard back from him until Yesterday evening he would like to collect his tools. What are my options as I feel like he abandoned them and he should pay me the difference of $400.00 if he wants his tools back. Thank you in advance for your advice.

1 reply

Dec 17, 2019
When a contractor abandons a construction project and when that abandonment injures their customer, the abandoning contractor may very well be liable to the owner for damages associated with abandoning and breaching their contract. However, owners should be cautious holding their contractor's tools as a sort-of ransom for damages. Certainly, claims may be available against a contractor - but claims being available against a contractor won't serve as a justification for theft (which may be on the table if an owner refuses to let a contractor collect their property). Refusing to let a contractor recover their tools may ultimately do more to complicate a dispute more than it will do to resolve it considering police reports and criminal allegations could come into play when holding a contractor's tools ransom. Instead, leveraging potential legal claims like breach against a contractor (or potentially pursuing them - perhaps via small claims court) might be a safer option.

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