Home Renovations: Part 3

Okay, so last week was all positive, everything was going smoothly, good vibes, blah blah blah.  Now, it’s nightmare time.  I get a call mid-week from the board president telling me that the previous day one of our workers had broken through to the downstairs bathroom and our neighbors plaster had cracked and fallen.  This was the first I heard of it.  My contractor hadn’t told me and the neighbor, who I had given my number to and asked to call me if their were any problems at all, didn’t tell me.  The neighbor was upset but eventually (a little too late perhaps) my contractor talked to him and calmed him down and promised he’d patch, plaster, and paint the entire bathroom.  This was only the beginning.  On a hunch I check the DOB website later that night and learn that someone has filed a complaint on us.  Here’s the thing.  Nothing in the complaint holds water.  It says unsafe demo, not picking up trash, and unlicensed contractor.  None of that is true.  Unfortunately our new problem is that we didn’t get a permit to knock down the wall.  We were told by both our contractor and the building management that we didn’t need one so we thought we were safe.  Now that we know an inspector is coming any day now we’ve been asking around and it looks like we might need one.  Ugh. Too late. 

So, we tried to talk to the neighbor to see if he filed and could retract the complaint.  Did not fess up.  There are a couple of other suspects, though.  A porter was angry with one of the workers for leaving a mess in the elevator (a mess that got cleaned up) but he was heard complaining about it.  My contractor gave him a $60 tip.  The super apparently didn’t like this and got into an argument with my contractor about having to go through him.  Meaning he wanted a pay day too, which he got.  We are learning about the strange heirarchy and shady underbelly of the world of running a co-op. 

Now, our contractors don’t come off well in this either.  Firstly, they were not there when the mishap occurred.  They did however rectify it quickly.  Here’s the frustrating part, as soon as they found out about the complaint, which I told them about, they started asking for the second installment in their payment.  Here we are about to possibly be shut down by the city and they are asking us for money??  Arrrrgh.  They claim they want to speed up work but they need money to buy materials and pay the electrician and whatnot.  After several back and forths we’ve emailed with this compromise.  We will give them their second installment if they can give us a statement in writing that they will not bill us for any violation fine they receive.  We’re waiting for a response.  We’ll find out tomorrow.  What we’ve learned.  Trust no one and do your research about when you do or don’t need a permit.

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