Can I legally walk away from a contracting job due to breach of contract?

I am a general contractor of 14 years walking away from a job for the first time. The homeowner’s have repeatedly threatened a lawsuit, refuse to pay for add-ons upfront per the agreement, worked side deals with a sub without my knowledge and now want me to reimburse them because the sub walked. They have caused discord among the subs with their constant interuptions and negative talk. They sent texts and emails this past weekend calling me a fraud, saying I should beware of all the costs they’re adding up for me to pay. I don’t feel they are going to pay the remaining balance on the contract, and I can’t have the subs keep working knowing they may not get paid.

Asked on November 1, 2013 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a material, or important, breach of a contract by one party entitles the other party to cease performance and to treat the contract as terminated. Failure to pay is a material breach, so the failure to pay, especially when confronted by their other behavior which interferes with the contract and your performance thereof, should entitle you to treat the contract as terminated and walk away from the job. You may also sue them for the money they owe you.

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