What to do if I hired someone to paint my home’s exterior but they ended up painting my neighbor’s house instead?

So I told them that the deal was off (I agreed to pay them $1,000 if they complete the job by the 10th). Did I just terminate the contract or am I still liable to pay the contractor once he paints my house? In other words, if he sues me, do I ave to pay him for damages?

Asked on June 8, 2014 under Business Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If he does paint your home by the agreed-upon date--which by now, would have happened, if it were going to (today is June 12th)--then you would have to pay him; in that instance, he would have complied with the contract (it doesn't matter whether he *also* painted your neighbor's house). If he did not paint your home by the date in the agreement (the 10th), then he breached the contract in a material, or important way, and that breach should allow you to treat the contract as terminated.

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