If I hired a contractor to remodel my basement/build a small addition to the house but he has quit, what are my obligations to him regarding any more payments?

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If I hired a contractor to remodel my basement/build a small addition to the house but he has quit, what are my obligations to him regarding any more payments?

It’s been going on 6 months now and after the contractor has made comments about my wife, daughter and me, I asked to him to stay off my property, that I would deal only with his foreman. Instead of accepting this he chose to quit. He is now asking for additional payment on top of what he has already been paid. Am I obligated to pay him at this point?

Asked on August 13, 2014 under Business Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, you need to only pay him for the work actually done, and only  to the extent such work was done to a commercially or professional acceptable standard; and furthermore, if by leaving mid-wa through the work, he increased the cost to you, you can offset that increase against what you owe him. And if you paid him for more  work than he has done, he most likely needs to return the surplus to you.

Three examples; in all them, I will assume you gave a $10k deposit:

1) You hire a contractor to build a small addition to the house and remodel the basement for a total cost of $50,000. He framed out and did the electrical work, the windlows, and exterior of the addition, but did not finish it and did not do the basement. The falue of what he did is $25k. You owe him $15k.

2) As above, except that in working on the addition, he also ripped up or damaged some of your roof and siding on the existing part of your house and never put it right. Repairing the roof and siding will cost you $7k. You should pay him $8k: $25k of work done, less the $10k deposit already paid and the $7k you need to pay another contractor to fix his damage.

3) Instead of doing any real work, he partially demolished your basement then quit. Even restoring the basement to usuable shape will cost you $3k. Not only should you get the $10k deposit back and not owe him anything else, he should be liable to you for $3k.


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