What is a reasonable amount of time to give a contractor to a complete a job that they started but did not complete

Contractor started renovating a property that I own after two weeks he stopped in the middle of the job. It has now been over three weeks and he will not give me a date as to when he will start back and/or complete the job

Asked on March 8, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast answer, since it depends on the work and on external factors (e.g. weather delays? delays while parts ship? etc.). However, what you can do is now create a hard date: send him something in writing, sent some way or ways you can prove delivery, delineating his abrupt stop to work, that there has been no progress for 3 weeks, and not even a projection or estimate of when work will resume, and telling him that unless the work does resume within, say, 10 business days of receipt of the letter, you will consider that he is in breach of contract and take legal action.
If he has some legitimate reason beyond his control (e.g. waiting for materials; broke his leg; etc.) he can respond with it; if you find it plausible and reasonable, then use the opportunity to negotiate a new schedule, taking account of the issue, with which you can live and get the benchmark dates in writing so you can enforce them in the future. If he does not respond, or responds in an implausible or unpersuasive way, then you probably want to consider the contract/agreement terminated by his breach and file a lawsuit to recover any money you have paid out or costs/losses thereby incurred.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no hard and fast answer, since it depends on the work and on external factors (e.g. weather delays? delays while parts ship? etc.). However, what you can do is now create a hard date: send him something in writing, sent some way or ways you can prove delivery, delineating his abrupt stop to work, that there has been no progress for 3 weeks, and not even a projection or estimate of when work will resume, and telling him that unless the work does resume within, say, 10 business days of receipt of the letter, you will consider that he is in breach of contract and take legal action.
If he has some legitimate reason beyond his control (e.g. waiting for materials; broke his leg; etc.) he can respond with it; if you find it plausible and reasonable, then use the opportunity to negotiate a new schedule, taking account of the issue, with which you can live and get the benchmark dates in writing so you can enforce them in the future. If he does not respond, or responds in an implausible or unpersuasive way, then you probably want to consider the contract/agreement terminated by his breach and file a lawsuit to recover any money you have paid out or costs/losses thereby incurred.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.