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

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

The builder hired us the to do concrete work for a house gave 30$ down. We were set to start but was deleayed on their half for different reasons. Now, 2 years later, they have completely cancelled the job and want the 30% back.

Asked on August 8, 2018 under Business Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If THEY delayed ("was delayed on their [be]half for different reasons") and THEY now cancelled the work ("they have completely cancelled"), you do not need to return the deposit. The deposit only needs to be returned if 1) YOU fail or refuse to do the work; or 2) the work becomes impossible for some reason completely beyond anyone's possible control or influence (e.g. you were to work on a house which was taken by the government using eminent domain or which was obliterated by a gas line explosion). Otherwise, since A) the  other side has breached the agreement by not going forward with the work, and B) the entire purpose of the deposit is to encourage you to reserve the time and resources for the work by giving you some compensation no matter what (and to encourage the other side to go through with the project by having them "put skin in the game"), they cannot use their own failure or refusal to get their money back.


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