KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — An Anderson County woman made the hard choice to fire her contractor in late February. He was hired in September of 2021 to remodel a mobile home, but progress slowed down and Tara Allen discovered mistakes. The contractor has now taken legal action against her.
He claimed he worked at the home for five months and he’s demanding his final payment. But Allen claims, the remodeling contractor did not complete all his work and some of it was substandard.
“So this is the door to our master bedroom, it doesn’t properly fit in the frame. So when we try to close it,” said Allen as she tried to close the door. “It stops, it will not close. So, for our master door, we use a curtain hooked onto a tension rod now.”
Allen is disappointed in her contractor’s workmanship, the door not only scrapes the floor when she tries to open it the doorknob to the bedroom door is missing.
“This is the brand new vanity we purchased and had installed by him. He installed all new plumbing underneath. We noticed that both of our bathroom vanities had a leak at the shutoff valve, so it destroyed the bottom here. But also there is a huge hole in the drywall behind where he attempted to install the plumbing,” said Allen.
Concerned about the leak, Allen hired a plumber who came in and repaired the leaky valves. In her closet, Allen wanted her original contractor to replace the entire moldy sub-floor.
“As you can see he added one brand new board to the two by four. and the rest of it is old moldy floor,” said Allen.
Allen hired Jeremiah Autary with Valley Boys Construction in mid-September of last year to remodel her double-wide in Andersonville.
“This house was my mom’s. She lived here and died here. My kids spent many years growing up here. We had Thanksgiving here, Christmas I just wanted to be able to continue that, those memories,” said Allen.
The total cost for the job was $38,770.
“He was here five months. His original quote was 21 to 30 days,” said Allen.
Allen ended up firing Jeremiah Autary in February 2022. She documented her decision with pictures of the work and wrote to Autary about why she fired him. Allen says Autary resisted being fired. He filed a lien against her property claiming she owes him $5700.
“He said he understood my concern about the vanity, but I still needed to pay him in full. He never finished. So he was let go at five months,” said Allen.
WATE’s Don Dare contacted Autary to hear his side and his answer was “no comment, contact my attorney”. His attorney Told Dare “we anticipate the filing of a lawsuit, and we prefer to litigate in court.”
Allen says she’s been asked to stop making comments about her contractor on Facebook. Not satisfied with his job performance, Allen says she emailed Autary detailing why she ended their business relationship.
“I don’t want any money from him. I just want to move forward and start making memories here. But I have that lien hanging over my head,” said Allen.
There are a few practical problems in firing your contractor, according to legal experts. The first problem is determining how much is owed to the contractor based on their stage of completion. Invariably the client and the contractor will not agree on the amount that’s owed. Also, you may be required to give them a chance to fix the work first, in her case Allen said she did. She also wrote to him citing the reasons why she let him go, that’s another step that should be followed. However, be prepared to hire a lawyer if the contractor disagrees with you.
One other problem is that you’ll need to bring in another contractor to finish the incomplete project, Allen did that as well.