Can I hold payment to a contractor who did not complete work in a satisfactory manner?

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Can I hold payment to a contractor who did not complete work in a satisfactory manner?

Hardwood floors were installed and I paid half of the bill once materials were

purchased. There is an excess amount of debris caught under the first coat of

stain, there is an excess of blemishes on the top coat from improper finishing, and there are close to a dozen boards that are splitting enough to catch a toe on it. Also, the floor was not sealed properly and there are multiple cracks between boards. I met with the contractor and he that it is not his fault and that it is the quality of the wood. He states that he’ll charge me over $1300 to remove and replace the boards and refinish. I asked that he fix his work and I would pay him the remainder of the original estimate, however he had only offered to add another coat of stain which will only cover up the debris but do nothing about the split boards. There was no written contract signed and the contractor is a non-U.S. citizen. I don’t know where to go from here.

Asked on May 28, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can refuse to pay because the contract turned in not professionally acceptable work. The contractor may try to sue you for the balance due, but you could raise the contractor's negligence and breach of contract (not providing the agreed-upon quality of work) as a defense in court, at which time the court will decide, based upon the contractor's performance, how much of the balance you need to pay. You could also sue or countersue for the cost to have some other contractor repair or contract the work, if this one will not do so.


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