If a builder has not completed my home within the stated substantial completion deadline, is that a breach of contract and can I legally ask for my deposit back?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If a builder has not completed my home within the stated substantial completion deadline, is that a breach of contract and can I legally ask for my deposit back?

We are building a home and have had a terrible experience with our builder. Aside from being unprofessional and doing terrible work they are not fixing the things we want fixed. We want to get our money back and walk

away. The only recourse that I can see is that the home has taken longer to build than promised. In our contract it states that substantial completion should be within 240 days. We are now at 265 days and the home is not complete. Would we win in mediation or a court case based on this statute?

Asked on February 27, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Utah


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the builder for breach of contract for failure to complete the work within 240 days as stated in the contract. The builder is also in breach of contract for substandard work for mistakes and failure to correct mistakes and repair items you requested.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would include the cost of completion and correction of the substandard work, and compensation for not completing the work by the deadline stated in the contract.
You may be able to recover part of your deposit but not the entire deposit because a construction contract is an installment contract since the work is done in installments or portions. Breach of a portion does not breach the entire contract; only that portion. Therefore, your recovery of damages would be an amount for each portion (installment) breached and not the entire contract. You would not recover damages for portions of the work done correctly which is why you would only recover part of your deposit.
Although it is not possible to predict the outcome of your lawsuit, mediation,etc. , the above is what to expect.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption