If we had a licensed contractor do an addition on our home, what are our legal rights on unfit work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If we had a licensed contractor do an addition on our home, what are our legal rights on unfit work?

We had a contractor put a addition on home. It is full of mold after 1 year and had the inspection less than 1 month ago. It’s is unfit to live in and my father has become il.l

Asked on April 9, 2018 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If you received some sort of guaranty or warranty from the contractor, you can enforce it against them, including by a "breach of contract" lawsuit in court.
2) IF you can show that the mold is the result of defective or negligent work done by the contractor, you could sue them for the cost to repair/remediate the condition based on negligence (unprofessional carelessness). But you need to have *evidence* that the mold resulted from them doing something inadequate or wrong (or not up to code)--you can't simply assume that beause the work was done a year ago (or inspected one month ago) that it was necessarily their fault: a court will not assume that, and without evidence, you would lose any lawsuit. Have another contractor inspect the addition and determine what is causing the mold; if it looks like it was the first contractor's shoddy work, then you could sue. In a suit, you would need to be able to put an "expert" (e.g. another contractor who inspected you home) on the witness stand, to testify as to the cause, so you may as well have them look at it now, to see if you even have a potential case.

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