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

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2023Fact Checked

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Jeffrey Johnson

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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, 2023

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2023Fact Checked

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.

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

Case Study 1: Delayed Construction and Breach of Contract

Sarah hired a contractor to build an extension on her house. They agreed upon a set timeline and a fixed price for the project. However, the contractor repeatedly delayed the construction and demanded additional funds to complete the job. Sarah, frustrated with the contractor’s behavior, sought legal advice. After reviewing the contract and gathering evidence of the delays, Sarah decided to take legal action against the contractor for breach of contract and seek compensation for the additional costs incurred due to the delays.

Case Study 2: Unexpected Cost Overruns and Contract Modifications

John signed a contract with a home builder to construct a custom-designed home. As the project progressed, John realized that unforeseen circumstances, such as hidden structural issues and design modifications, led to significant cost overruns. The builder informed John about the increased expenses and requested additional payment to complete the project.

John, concerned about the rising costs, engaged in negotiations with the builder to modify the contract and find a reasonable solution. Eventually, they reached an agreement to adjust the payment terms and explore cost-saving alternatives while ensuring the project’s completion.

Case Study 3: Unfulfilled Promises and Legal Remedies

Lisa paid a contractor to remodel her kitchen based on verbal agreements and promises. However, the contractor failed to complete the work as promised, leaving Lisa with an unfinished and non-functional kitchen. Feeling deceived and unsure of her rights, Lisa consulted with a lawyer. After assessing the situation, the lawyer advised Lisa to pursue an unjust enrichment claim.

They helped Lisa gather evidence, including payment receipts and communication records, to support her case. With legal representation, Lisa successfully filed a claim against the contractor, seeking reimbursement for the payments made and damages caused by the incomplete work.

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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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

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...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

Get Legal Help Today

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