Options if Home Builder or Contractor Wants More Money to Complete the Job

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Your options in dealing with a contractor who won’t fix your home can vary dramatically depending on whether you have a contract with him, if the contract is enforceable, and if his action is in breach of that contract.

Exploring Your Options

If you have a contract with the contractor stating he would do a set amount of work for a set amount of money and you paid the money without him doing the work, he is in breach of the contract. In this case, you have two options:

  • You can sue for “specific performance”, which means going to court and the court compelling him to finish.
  • You can sue for monetary damages, which is the amount it will cost you to pay someone else to finish his work. 

If you have a contract and you went over budget, changed the terms of the contract, or otherwise breached your agreement or altered it in any way, you may need to pay the contractor more money or otherwise modify the deal that you had. For example, if you are way over budget, the contractor may not be obligated to finish the work unless you pay for your cost overruns. 

If you do not have a contract, things become more complicated. If you already paid him some money and he has not done what he promised, you may have a cause of action for “unjust enrichment”. This means you paid him, thus enriching him, and he should not be able to keep that money without performing the work you bargained for.

Getting Help

The examples listed above are not all inclusive. In dealing with these difficult situations, your best option is to talk to a lawyer. Give your attorney the specifics to evaluate your case and the choices available to you.  

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