Do I have to pay a contractor his final payment if a job is incomplete and/or he refuses to finish the job that is contracted?

Contract states half upon start, remaining half when job is completed. Contractor is refusing to finish the job and wants to reduce final $1700 by $450 for the work he refuses to do. I feel it will cost me way more than $450 to contract someone else to do what he not only is refusing to do but what he also didn’t complete. I have contract and supporting pictures of incomplete work and texts from him refusing to finish the job.

Asked on June 1, 2012 under Business Law, Ohio


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the contractor immediately for breach of contract without making the final payment.  When there is a material breach of contract (one that goes to the heart of the contract/ the basis of the bargain), you can sue for breach of contract without tendering your performance (making the final payment in this case).

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for breach of contract) would be the cost of completion.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by hiring someone to complete the work whose charges are comparable to other contractors in the area.  If you hired the most expensive contractor you could find to complete the work, you would have failed to mitigate damages and your damages would be reduced accordingly.

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