If my lawncare contract includes a fee for early termination but the contractor is not performing as his contract states, can he enforce the fee?

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If my lawncare contract includes a fee for early termination but the contractor is not performing as his contract states, can he enforce the fee?

The contract is for typical lawn care services: mowing, fertilizing, leaf removal, etc. He has made no “investment” in equipment or devices for my property (unlike a cell phone service that gives me a free phone). There are certain services called for in the contract that he has not performed. He does not notify me when there will be delays, as the contract requires; only after I contact him will I get any kind of a response. The amount of the fee is not worth my hiring a lawyer, unless there is a strong likelihood I would prevail.

Asked on August 7, 2012 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If one party to a contract violates his or her obligations in a material, or significant, way, that violation can excuse the other party from his or her own obligations. If the lawncare company has not provided the services it was contractually obligated to, then it is likely (but not certain; litigation is never certain) that you could cancel or terminate the contract without penalty.


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