I hired a contractor to do work at my home but he did not provide good work in a timely fashion, do I have to finish paying agreed amount of contract?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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I hired a contractor to do work at my home but he did not provide good work in a timely fashion, do I have to finish paying agreed amount of contract?

I hired a contractor to provide work. We had a signed contract and work was to be completed in 4 weeks.Then, 6 months later, I changed the locks. I still owe $12,000 but work was not done correctly, holes left, plumbing needed to be fixed, heat doesn’t work correct, etc. He gave me a bill for things not told about i.e. structural) $1,400 and when I asked he said it was for the floor. There were a lot of issues like this. He was supposed to put in closets, but told me to buy them and he would install. I said, it’s part of contract. He wouldn’t do. In the end I still owe according to him, $12,000. I offered $6,000 as there are a lot of repairs I am making to the poor job he did. He says I cannot deduct for repairs of his work. How can I fix this situation or do I need to take him to court or let him sue me for the balance?

Asked on February 1, 2019 under Business Law, New Jersey


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the contractor for breach of contract without paying him.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would be the cost of completion of the work including correction of the substandard work. You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages by selecting another contractor whose fees are comparable to other contractors in the area. If you were to select the most expensive contractor you could find, you have failed to mitigate damages and your damages will be reduced accordingly.

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