Posted on February 11, 2016
Residential contractors know that if they breach a home contract that they can face liability in court for their actions. For example:
These state laws only impose civil liabilities. However, few residential contractors realize that their conduct can also lead to criminal charges even when performed in the name of their company. A contractor recently found this out when he was charged and convicted of theft from an elderly couple in the Summit County Common Pleas Court. State v. Alan Vertucci, Case No. CR 2015-07-2165. The contractor is now facing 2 to 8 years of imprisonment for his 2nd degree felony conviction.
In Vertucci, the defendant, Allan Vertucci, a self-employed contractor and owner of Allan Vertucci Construction, was hired by an elderly couple to replace the roof and windows of their home. Vertucci was later paid to repair the septic tank, waterproof the basement, and repair other items in the home. The homeowners paid in excess of $80,000 over two years for the work, but Vertucci failed to complete it all. In addition, investigators found the work that was completed to be substandard and determined that the home’s septic system violated the health code as a result of the substandard work. Finally, Vertucci also removed items from the home including a bathtub and doors.
This conviction should serve as a warning to homeowners and contractors alike to be diligent in their dealings with each other. Contracts are the parties’ best tool for defining their rights and obligations. Written contracts are required by law for home projects exceeding $25,000, but it is always a good practice to have a written contract, even for work costing less. At a minimum, contracts should contain a detailed in scope of work, a schedule of payments based on work performed, and an expected completion date.
For questions regarding contract terms or Ohio’s residential contractor laws, please contact Joseph R. Spoonster at Harpst Ross, Ltd. – Business Lawyers for the Construction Industry®, at (330) 983-9971 or email@example.com.
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