A Contract Only A Lawyer Could Love

The contractor, who hasn’t done anything and missed the schedule, is now telling us he won’t put us back on the schedule until we sign a contract. So he faxed over a 16-page document that made no promises about time, cost, or quality, but required a $50,000 deposit immediately, plus a “letter of credit” for $500,000. (The first “estimate” I got was $150,000; the second estimate was $260,000, now it’s $500,000!)

I called my bank, thinking a letter of credit was just a statement that we could afford it, but they said it was an escrow account that the contractor could draw upon at any time!

The contractor refused to sign a mechanic’s lien waiver, added 18% on top of any subcontractors, charged the same rate for skilled and unskilled workers, and prohibited us from doing any work ourselves. It was, in short, completely unacceptable.

I don’t want to have to try to find a new contractor now, but I’d rather change now than in the middle of the job, so I’m not sure what to do.