House left a mess by contractor - is this normal?

by Tina
All the floors had to be torn out and redone in my 100 - year - old "shotgun" house. This contractor insisted on leaving furniture and all my belongings inside to be moved from room to room as work progressed.

My first question is "is this a standard practice"? My second question is "was he not responsible for cleanup and disposal of construction waste?"
The following photographs are just a small representation of the mess I'm left with.

Thanks for your help!

Back steps and yes! That's a discarded heater sitting by the steps.
Front porch
Just off back steps. Too heavy for me to pick up
Stove not working. Didn't hook back up. Light pilot light? I don't know how to do this
Told me TV hooked up ~ not
My trash collector doesn't allow construction waste
All Hollywood light bulbs missing in bathroom. Has screwed in a bulb from one of my lamps
My TV that's hooked up? Note dust covering my electronics (satellite box)
Front porch (note: my 2 trashcans out on porch). One handmade by my grandmama who just passed 4 months ago.
Back steps
  12 answers
  • Gerry Davis Gerry Davis on Mar 22, 2018

    Just be thankful that he only left the trash. Our contractor abandoned us in November, leaving many things undone, thus he has taken us for about $30,000; he has everything, he owns, in another person's name, so you can't get anything out of him. Are we alone?? Absolutely not, many in our town are in the same boat, many worse off. Yes, we are doing everything we can do put him out of business. If building, renovating, please check out their license, background info which can be found on their site. After 14 months, we hope to move in; should have been finished June of 2017. Don't even ask what this has done to us mentally, physically and financially and we are in our 80's.

    • Tina Tina on Mar 22, 2018

      That sounds like a nightmare! I will definitely check license next time. I hope you can get things resolved soon AND put him out of business! I sure do understand the mental, physical, and financial effects and mine is no where near what you're going through. Thanks for sharing your story though

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Mar 22, 2018

    Your contractor definitely should have put things back and removed constructions waste. Check with your town/city to see if there is a law on the books for at least removing the construction waste. You could try to keep calling him to come back and fix things until he does it. If you have to pay someone to do it, you could try small claims court, but first I'd find people in my own area who have had work done. If this company has a license, they should definitely want to fix your issue.

    • See 1 previous
    • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Mar 22, 2018

      Good luck Tina! We once had the police come to our door when we first moved here and didn't know about the law. A contractor had left items at the edge of the street for our pick-up services. Once we told the police the name of the contractor, they handled it from there and the contractor had to come back or face a fine. Needless to say, he came back. :)

  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Mar 22, 2018

    Was there any mention in contract as to who was responsible for the disposal? I would have said that some of the ‘finishing’ was not completed satisfactorily....have you finished paying? Can you hold back any funds until work is finished?

  • OMG! This is when you want that TV show with Adam Carolla on it ! "To Catch A Contractor"!!! Can't trust anyone anymore.

  • Tina Tina on Mar 22, 2018

    Yes . . . I've already paid. I'm gonna try calling him. I will know next time (not with him doing work for me)! I've not had experience with renovations before. This is my grandmama's house left to me in which I will be living. I'm sure more work will be needed in the future! Thank you for your response!

    • Ege32340396 Ege32340396 on Mar 25, 2018

      in the future, pay by credit card, then you can get your money back if you are abandoned before it’s finished. You can also complain to the licensing board in your city, county, or state. We had a contractors license revoked because they got $11,000.00. In deposits and then disappeared!

  • Janice Janice on Mar 22, 2018

    So sorry you are having to deal with this! Keep calling him! Insist thay he complete what he agreed to do! Don't be shy...these guys think you'll just give up and go away. Don't! Otherwise, he will continue to do this to others!

    Call your City office and ask to speak with someone in their licensing department. They may refer you to a County office, but find out if the contractor has a Contractor's License. If he does, you can file a complaint against him for poor/shoddy workmanship and they will investigate. If you've hired someone that does not hold a license of any kind about the only thing you can do is make EVERYONE aware of what has happened. Ask for help from anyone in your neighborhood or town. Don't let this continue to happen to others like you.

  • Mike Mike on Mar 22, 2018

    I have had horrible luck with contractors, so in my experience, the only way to force compliance, is to have a written contract specifying what is to be done,and to withhold payment until work has been completed to your satisfaction. I do feel your pain, and no, they should not have left the waste, they where simply trying to avoid either the dumpster rental or landfill fees. It's always about the money. That's probably why they didn't want to move your furniture outside, didn't want to pay for storage. I've learned you have to stand up to the contractors and be tough. Demand things are done they way you want them to be.

    As for what you can do on ow, try filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Sometimes that can help. If that doesn't, you could speak to an attorney, but that will cost you money.

  • Sherrie Slaboda Sherrie Slaboda on Mar 22, 2018

    You might want to take him to small claims court where you don't need to pay for an attorney.

    • 17335038 17335038 on Mar 25, 2018

      It would not be worth the time and money to try to take the contractor to small claims court, as, if there was no contract signed by both parties (the contractor and the homeowner) there is no grounds to prove that the contractor was in breech of their responsibilities as agreed upon in the contract.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Mar 25, 2018

    Tina, even though it is upsetting and frustrating to be in the position that you are, thanks for posting the pictures to share with others how they too could be treated by an unprofessional contractor.

    There is no doubt that to 'finish' any job this way is shoddy, careless, and disrespectful. But, unfortunately Mike is right. Sadly, neither a verbal conversation or a handshake no longer offer adequate protection that you will not be cheated out of money that you pay in exchange for tradeswork on your home.

    As there was no signed written contract stating exactly what work will be completed, by whom, and by what dates, my prediction that phoning the guy to try to get him to come back to right the situation will only be a never-ending waste of your time and energy.

    Pursue some of Janice's suggestions if you want, and move on to wiser, happier days ahead in your new home.

  • Regina Micciche Regina Micciche on Mar 25, 2018

    Any contractor always cleans up any and all construction debris and disposes of it away from the home. In the future, be sure anyone you uses is licensed, bonded and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for a copy of his license, as there are many different kinds. You want to be sure he’s specifically licensed for the work you want done and not just a General home improvement license. Also, never ever pay until you have inspected the work and everything is done to your satisfaction, including clean up. A good contractor will sweep up debris and put everything back where it was; he will also take all debris with him when he goes.

  • User User on Feb 09, 2020

    no, friend, this is not awesome!

    contractors have to do their work till the completion!

  • Seb345 Seb345 on Feb 09, 2020

    Yeah this stinks. I feel like you just got a very weird contractor. I have been doing some remodeling as well but I have been blessed with very neat contractors. I have been doing general remodeling like in the master bedroom as well as the bathroom. Plus my wife wants me to do some new paint in the main hall and while we are at it she wants anew staircase. Honestly it's a insane project. I found my contractors online (I'll leave the info below). They work for a bigger company and they seem to be very good at their job so far and they sure as heck don't leave a mess like that behind.


    You can find more info about them here: