Monday, June 17, 2013

The Handyman From Hell

by Kate Collins

Have I got a handyman story for you!

Once upon a time, I decided to downsize and build a condo home. The home came with a basement that I could have finished according to the developer's plan or I could hire someone to finish it to my specs. Being the fiercely independent (read: stubborn) person that I am, I opted to go my own way. I contracted with a handyman my husband had used to keep his law offices in good repair, whom we subsequently used to do a partial remodel of our former house's basement.

Fast forward to me being alone, and this handyman, who bills himself as a home remodeler, treating my basement as his after school project. Instead of putting in the walls, storage closet, doors, and trim, and getting them ready to paint by the time I moved in (he had 2 months) he had barely begun the drywall when I had to move. Once I was in, he would spend two hours one evening, an hour or two one morning, on and off, for another month, until I got so exasperated that I told him he had two weeks to finish.

So he brought in his two helpers, slapped up the tape and mud, made a big mess with the sanding, handed me the remainder of his bill (I had paid 2/3rds already) and waited for his check.

Being totally naive, I paid him and said that in the spring he'd have to come back and finish the trim and prep the drywall for painting.

Yeah, right.

Fast forward to March, when I had a painter take a look at  walls in the basement to give me a quote.  He said they were so bad, there was no way he could paint. He said they would need at least 2 more coats of mud and a lot of sanding (Oh, the mess!). So I contacted the handyman who promised to come finish.

Let's move to May. I finally get the handyman to bring in a professional drywaller who takes a long look and says there is no way he can do it in the time slot he has. He practically runs from the house.

After hounding the handyman for another two weeks, last week he brings another drywaller, who said he only works in evenings and it will take him at least a month to fix it.  I say to the handyman, No, way. This has to be done by the end of June.  This is nearly 9 months from the start of this project.

Handyman says he will have to call the "big stores" and hire them to do it. He tells me he'll have to "bite the bullet," which I'm assuming means it'll cost him big bucks. That was a week ago. I haven't heard back.

I have two options now: I can remind him that I have a lot of lawyer friends and I am not above seeking legal remediation, and force him to fix it, to be responsible for his bad act; or I can take him to small claims court and make him pay me back, then I will have to hire someone to fix his mess.

I'm leaning toward making him be responsible for fixing his mess, but I'm wondering if any of you ever had a similar experience and what you did about it.

What really angers me is that if my husband were alive, this man would never have pulled this with him. He feared/respected my beloved Greek but obviously does not me. Isn't that just sad?