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Reporting Contractor’s Negligence to Authorities

I have just verbally contracted a Yid to repair major roof leaks.
He removed tiles around the house; focused more on other jobs and didn’t return to close numerous gaps in the tiles allowing rain to enter the house for six days.
Am I permitted to threaten him that if he doesn’t pay for water damages, I will report his negligence to the government authorities who could deregister him as a builder.

Answer:

Although it is forbidden (under most circumstances) to threaten a person with court action, it is permitted to threaten a contractor with reporting him to government authorities.

This is because the authorities in this case are not considered arca’os (secular courts), but are rather similar to workers’ guilds, which are legitimate in regulating a particular profession.

Sources: See Choshen Mishpat 388:8, 34:20 (concerning threatning to take to court); concerning workers’ guilds, see Choshen Mishpat 231:27-28.

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2 Comments

  1. Lechvod HaRav Shlit”a
    As a follow up to my shaila above, the contractor didn’t heed my threats and left two row of tiles off the roof, around the entire house. There was rain damage, possibly to the tune of $4000.He stated that he has no intention to return to cover the work till the “flash floods” ceased. He wrote in a couple of SMS, that he agrees to fix all damages.
    Le’maase, we didn’t wait around to watch our house be further damaged ,so I called in a roof tiler to complete the job. That itself cost me $1200. [It also appears that my original contractor, according to the roof tiler, performed his job incorrectly and this will cost me another $500-$600 to rectify.]
    According to the above psak, may I call the contractor to the Builders advice and Conciliation since they are a regulator and not arc’oas. Secondly, if they consider him to be negligent, they will deduct a few points of his reputation to be a reputable builder.
    Yasher Koachachem,
    Yosef Loebenstein

    1. As you note, the regulators are not archa’os, and it would be possible to consult them, if this is the only way to advance. However, on account of the damage that might result, the principles of Chafetz Chaim for lashon hara would apply — meaning you have to be sure that you have the facts absolutely straight, that there is no other way to advance your cause, that your intentions are positive alone, and so on.
      Behatzlacha!

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