Do I have to pay a painter any money if he did not perform the work properly or completely?

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Do I have to pay a painter any money if he did not perform the work properly or completely?

I hired a stain person. He has a website that describes his work and guarantees satisfaction. He has mostly stained some of the items; however, he performed the job messily and stain splatter is on all the products, the stain color is uneven and parts have not been finished. He also stained our patio ceiling even though we asked him not to until we saw the finished product of the other items. We have fired him before more damage occurs. He wants us to pay him part of the money. Another painter said that he used the wrong tools. Would he be obligated to pay for repairs?

Asked on August 20, 2010 under General Practice, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If work was simply not done, you do not need to pay for that work.

2) If work was not done as specified, you would not have to pay for it.

3) If work was done but you feel the quality is not what you were paying for, it is not as clear cut; there would be grounds to not pay, or at least get a reduction, but since quality if more subjective, it's not as "bright line" to show that the painter breached the contract.

4) If the painter did anything which he was not supposed to or damaged other property, not only do you not need to pay him for that work, but you could sue him for the damages done--though you'd have to sue to recover the money if he doesn't pay voluntarily. You cannot necessarily offset it directly against monies owed under the contract, since the contract and the property damage are two different matters.

So, in short: you have to pay for work actually done to spec. You don't have to pay for work not done or not as specified. There may be grounds to not pay for poor quality work, but that is more situation dependent and less clear cut. You may be able to sue for other damages caused. However, on all points, if you and the painter can't work things out (even  in regards to 1 and 2), you may end up in litigation to resolve the disagreement.


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