Do I need to return a down payment for a job 2from 2 years ago that was never done

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Do I need to return a down payment for a job 2from 2 years ago that was never done

The builder hired us the to do concrete work
for a house gave 30 down in 2016 we were set
to start but was deleayed on their half for
different reasons. And now have completely
cancelled the job and want the 30 back

Asked on August 2, 2018 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Not if they first delayed, then cancelled. When the person who provided the payment is the reason that the job cannot or will not be done, they lose their down payment for the "breach"--or violation--of the agreement under which you agreed to do work for them in exchange for pay, and further agreed (at least implicitly, if not explicitly) that you would hold resources or dates on your calendar for them to get the work done, therefore potentially giving up other work or opportunities. The down payment was to secure your firm agreement and availability to go the job, by making sure that you would receive at least partial payment if the job were cancelled; you did your part, by being ready, willing, and able to work, so if they cancelled the job after you agreed to do it, they lose their down payment.
The result would be different if *you* had been the reason the job could not be done: since you cannot keep someone's money while refusing or being unable to work, in that instance, you'd have to return the down payment.


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