New York City
Northern New Jersey
Search Better With
Shop for a Broker
Open House Planner
Saved Listings & Folders
Stats and Figures
Manhattan Condo Market Index
I am out of town and my new apartment is vacant and being painted. The apartment below us also just sold, is vacant, and that new owner arranged for the installation of a custom shower door. At some point, his contractor accidentally came to my apartment to measure, and then came back yesterday and began installation! My painter came today, knew I wasn't getting a shower door and questioned the workers. At the same time the other owner was calling the shower door contractor to find out where his door was. Tile has been cut and drilled into, the frame is up, and the caulk is drying. The shower guy offered to finish the $2400 job for $1500. Has anybody ever heard of a something like this before? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
how did everyone gain access to your apartment?
I am a contractor and have never heard of this in my life. I think he should finish the job for free. Thats what I would do. I understand you are getting something that is worth $2,400. but you never asked for it and if you dont accept then what?
If he doesn't want to finish the job, he doesn't have to. But if not, then he does have to return you to the position you were in before he trespassed and damaged your property. If that means re-tiling -- or paying your contractor to do so -- then that's what he has to do. (He can't just leave a half-finished job, or stick you with cut and drilled tile.) And, frankly, if you don't like the shower door he would be installing, you can most likely demand that he repair instead of finishing the work.
$1500 to finish a job you didn't want in the first place seems a bit rich to me -- though if you feel like settling your claims against him by entering into that arrangement, you can. If it were me, I think the contractor's settlement choices would be "repair the damage" or "finish the work for free." Otherwise, I think this is probably within the jurisdiction of a small claims court.
This is not legal advice, of course -- you'd need to see a lawyer for that.
I would tell him to restore the bathroom to the condition he found it in or finish the job for free--and to agree to it in writing asap. Those are his two options and insist you'd like an answer immediately or you will file a police complaint for trespass and criminal mischief by tomorrow which will be necessary for your insurance company to process the claim you'll be filing the following day. This is absurd. I'd also tell him you're preparing to speak to the building's board to bar him from the building given the property damage he's caused you, unless he comes up with a better plan to make you whole--quickly. Unbelievable.
"A Denver man who accidentally spent $30,000 repairing and renovating a condo he moved into, but doesn't own, has been ordered to vacate the premises by the real owner."
Your own contractor needs to be taken to task here as well. Why wasn't he on top of things? How did the wrong crew gain access to your apartment? Whatever the cause, YOU should not be out a single dime for this error. Tell the shower guy to get his crap out of your apartment and restore it to the condition in which he found it or you will file charges.
Remember that liability insurance the contractor had to file with building management?
Thanks to all for the input. This actually happened to me today. I called the super, he had just heard about it, and he said he was so dumbfounded that he couldn't even process it yet. The contractor that I was using does alot of work in the building and was recommended by the staff. His guys were only doing painting for me as the apartment was otherwise in move in condition. The shower guys were originally accidentally directed to my apartment by a doorman as they had a completely wrong apartment number, but it unfortunately happened to be one on my floor, not the floor below. I knew the last thing I wanted was the shower guy to just try to walk away followed by litigation. I also did not want a mediocre completion to the job already started. He agreed to pay my contractor for any touch ups from the money I agreed to pay. Even though I never saw the shower door, my contractor said it would fit fine and the trim matched the rest of the bathroom - since they did the estimate in the wrong bathroom in the first place! So I agreed to the $1500. I suppose I can return the $30 shower curtain I bought from BBB.
ziptalker, you're killing me.
And when the shower guy ran my credit card he charged me tax too!
What! Is the job done? If so, call that guy back and tell him upon further reflection you don't want to pay for his mistake.
Better yet, call Diner's Club or Carte Blanche or whatever charge plate you used and have them do a chargeback.
Master Charge, BankAmericard, whatever.
I would not pay any money to this fool. The CC chargeback's not a bad idea, actually. Do NOT let this guy bully you. Remind him that trespassing and damage he's caused by unauthorized work in your apartment are actionable. Again, if it were me, I'd have him rip out the whole mess and restore the apartment to the condition it was in before his stupid mistake.
Thinking about this and I have a question:
What kind of shower enclosure is it? You mention the frame being up, if it isnt frameless there is no way it is a $2,400.00 job it is more like a 1200-1600 job. Not only he isnt giving you a deal but he is making his normal profit.
concurring with Kyle, wld not have otherwise agreed to what this Confederacy of Dunces offered.
It is frameless. My best friend is a glazier and I had him talk to the installer before I committed to the "confedaracy of dunces." 1/2 inch glass with door between fixed side pieces. Restoration, litigation, revenge, all went thru my mind but once I calmed down, the bottom line is that I want to move into a done apartment next week with as little further hassles as possible. I did not want to risk the shower guy trying to walk away with the job undone and me having to chase him. I did not want to encourage shoddy work. Like I told my wife, we would have been better off if he had finished the job before we knew about it, because then he would be chasing me for money. And believe me, if the job is not perfect I will be calling the credit card company. Is litigation really worth the hassle. Is trying to put the burden on the new apartment building the best thing to do as a new tenant just moving in. And from my experience the quickest way to end any dialogue would be with the filing of a police report.
You have to be kidding, you plan on paying this guy for work you didn't even order? Why don't you just cook him dinner while you're at it? No offence but this guy must be telling this same story to everyone he knows and laughing his ass off knowing he actually got you to pay for it.
Bottom line, if some random contractor shows up in my apartment and starts making adjustments on my property without my permission, thats his fault, plain and simple. When you do contract work for a client you don't rely on the building doorman to point you in the right direction, you be damn sure you know the apartment number before you start making alterations on someone else's apartment. Then to have the NERVE to even ask you to pay for it? What a joke!
Yes. Too bad you found out in the middle of the job. Would have been in a much better situation if he had finished.
I can absolutely imagine the doorman misdirect (though it's a bad move) but I'm still stalled out at "unlocked apartment" -- the painters just left the apartment open all day, not being there? Or they were there, but didn't have the knowledge/language skills to say "hey, man, no bathroom work?" In that case, the super doesn't walk through apartments where work is being done and catch the error?
DG Neary Realty
I think the situation is that there was a painting manager/contractor, not there at the time; and painter-workers, told only what they need to know and no more, who were there.
The only flawed step, as far as I'm concerned, is that the shower-door contractor should have verified BOTH apartment number and owner name. Of course, the doorman might not have been provided with the new owner name yet (prior to move-in) ... but then the contractor should have found another way to verify.
do tell - what does your neighbor have to say about all this?
If I remove the wrong person's gallbladder, but simply say you needed it out anyway - just pay me 1/2 - I don't think so. That is not even malpractice, it is assault. In your case, this is tresspassing - unauthorized entry plus damage to your property. I would not pay a penny. Finish the job or remove and restore to previous condition. Period.
My painters were there the time the shower guys first came and measured. The owner of the apartment that was supposed to be done was not going to be present that day either, so he was unaware they hadn't showed up at his place. The painters were eastern european and the shower guys hispanic, both sides with limited english skills. Only yesterday when my painting contractor, who is a NJ native, showed up incidentally at my apartment AND the other tenant was in the process of trying to find his shower stall guys, was it that the truth came to light. In reality I suppose it was actually the buildings fault along with the shower guys. I do love the expression "confederacy of dunces." Part me me has remorse for paying up, but in the big picture I think it was the expedient thing to do.
ziptalker, you are a practical individual. it seems blood-boiling to have to pay, but 1500 might be getting off cheap given the hassle you might be saving yourself.
I've heard of this happening with single family homes before, but never in a NYC apartment. Wow!
During the post-9/11 recession, there were contractors who went around my then-neighborhood trying to make a business out of this. Get a job at one house, "accidentally" show up at the wrong house, and get two jobs by giving the second one a "discount." I knew people who had the exterior of their house painted, their garage door replaced, and even their roof replaced without permission. Unbelievably, they usually paid up.
I think you should be getting this for free, but understand that it's sometimes better to pay and move on than deal with the stress of an unfinished apartment and/or pending litigation. If the contractor does a lot of work in the building, it's too bad the board / managing agent couldn't have applied some pressure to finish the job for free or be banned from working in the building again.
I hate to pour gasoline on the fire, but you could simply let the a-hole finish the job and then do a credit card chargeback citing unauthorized work. Then HE will have to chase YOU for the money, which he will not do.
I doubt the credit card company would allow a chargeback in this instance, given the circumstances.
And, frankly, when the OP provided the contractor with the credit card info, he was authorizing the work.
lad, you're probably correct there. Providing the CC info would have been the tipping point.
i think that if no additional work has been done since giving the credit card number a chargeback might still be possible.
I totally understand OP's actions. With installation half-done, being non-confrontational and fairly pragmatic, I probably would have done the same thing, mainly to avoid hassles. However it installation had been completed, different story.
My glazier friend went by the apartment today after the shower door was installed and said that it was a good clean job. As the original measurements were made in my apartment, it fit well, was trimmed properly and functioned correctly in relation to the other fixtures in the limited space of the bathroom. The original error lies in the shower guy showing up with incomplete information and being directed to the wrong apartment by a doorman. As the new guy in the building I don't want to start by filing a claim against the building and possibly alienating the super and doormen. As for Romary's question, the super said the other owner was also very pragmatic and not overly concerned about it. Maybe I should have relayed to him what I ended up paying, but I also don't want to start off a relationship with him on a bad foot. As it is, we both had the same real estate agent and he already found out that I paid less for my apartment than he did for his!
OP, you handled it well. We all just vented our fantasy reactions to have some fun. But you very correctly note the personal relationships at stake and kept your eye on the long-term when deciding how to respond. Enjoy the new shower. You got a good deal and will enjoy it for a long time.
Everybody, thanks for the input. As a guy originally from the Bronx, beleive me, all the nuclear options were considered. My friends all had the same range of responses as you did. But even I have to laugh at how I've mellowed over the years. I've taken to saying, "it's just another day." And no, I didn't make the shower guy dinner, but I did ask him to take some measurements while he was there. I will be needing some window blinds soon and I saw at his website that he does that too :)