Homeowner claimed home improvement contractor did incompetent work. Favors and Company Inc., a home improvement contractor, and Edmina Lee, a homeowner, entered into a series of home improvement contracts to make repairs for her two properties located at 112-28 199th Street and at 186-21 Hilburn Avenue, Queens. Work related to the 199th Street property occurred between April 28, 2014 and May 23, 2014. Work related to the Hilburn Avenue property occurred between May 15, 2014 and June 26, 2014.
Lee alleged that Favors failed to make, or improperly made, the repairs to Lee’s two properties. The main damage involved improperly installed gutters and leaders. Favors cut one leader too short which resulted in water pouring into the foundation which caused basement panels to rot and mold to grow. Favors also failed to install flooring in one of the Hilburn Avenue property’s bedrooms. In addition, Lee alleged defects in the original contracts in that the contracts violated City regulation because they lacked information on start dates, end dates, contingencies that would affect end dates, and whether time was of the essence.
Lee filed a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs to have Favors held accountable for its work and to pay restitution for the damages caused.
On June 22, 2017, an OATH hearing officer found deficiencies in the terms of the original contracts, but dismissed the claim that Favors’ work was incompetent. The hearing officer awarded Lee $3,050 for the failure to install flooring and the water damage caused by the short gutters.
On appeal, Favors argued that the hearing officer erred in awarding Lee damages. Favors should not have to pay Lee any damages for its actual work because the hearing officer had not held Favors liable for incompetent work. The OATH Appeals Tribunal agreed with Favors and ruled that the basis of the cash award was unclear because the hearing officer had dismissed the claims on the company’s work. The Appeals Tribunal remanded the case to the hearing officer to determine how much Lee should be awarded based solely on the injury she faced from the deficiencies in the terms of the original contract.
Department of Consumer Affairs v. Favors & Company Inc., OATH Appeal No. 170070CD.
By: May Vutrapongvatana (May is a New York Law School Student, Class of 2019.)