Does contractor have a case against me for non payment if they began work that goes against contract

I hired a roofer to tear off 2 layers of
shingles and construct an entirely new
roof. Upon returning to my home after
the workers had been there for one
day, I discovered that they had taken
off 1 layer and were shingling on top of
that. I called the owner of the company
and told him to have work stop
immediately. He has admitted to giving
them the go ahead to perform the
work which goes against our contract
without consulting me first. I want to let
him go and hire someone new, but
don’t intend to pay him a dime. No
money gas changed hands from either
side other than him purchasing
materials. Can he come after me for
payment? Am I on the hook for
anything, or am I free to hire someone
new and be done with this guy?

Asked on June 20, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If he was violating the contract in a material, or important way--which appears have been case, based on what you have written--that breach would let you treat the contract as terminated due to his breach, hire someone else to do the work, and not pay him for the work he did in breach of contact, with one exception: if any of the work he did (e.g removing one layer of shingles) is useful work that you "build" on )so to speak), there are legal theories that would let him recover money from you for the useful, valid work he did. You may need to pay him for some "demo" (removing one layer).

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