Whether it’s for a new home, an addition or renovation, hiring a contractor is an exciting step. Homeowners are often so thrilled and anxious about the proposed project that they may get a little careless. Before committing to the job, find a licensed contractor and always check a minimum of three references. Discuss with the contractor that the total fee will only be paid in full when the job is completed to your satisfaction. Taking those steps will hopefully prevent a situation known in legal terms as “project abandonment,” which is when a contractor wrongfully ceases working and leaves the project.
If you feel that you have done your homework and hired the right person for the job, be aware that circumstances might change during your project. Stay on top of things and pay attention if the subcontractors seem disgruntled or complain about not being paid. Communicate with the contractor about completion deadlines so you will be in the know. Should the contractor walk off the job before it is finished; there are steps the homeowner can take:
1. Communicate in writing with the contractor that he or she is breaching the agreement made with you by not finishing the work. Ask why the work ceased and offer them an opportunity to explain their situation, in case unforeseen complications arose during the project. Give them a deadline to finish the job and let them know you will hire another crew if they are unable to complete the task. Also mention that legal action may be the next step if they fail to complete the project. Always make a copy of this request, use a notarized document and certified mail so you can prove the letter was received.
2. Report the activity to local organizations such as the Home Builders Association or Contractor’s Licensing Board.
Because of a variety of legal and liability issues plus how the status of the homeowner’s insurance policy may be affected, it is best to contact a construction attorney when things are not resolved. It is a basic rule in construction law that a contractor’s or subcontractor’s wrongful abandonment of work is a material breach of contract, giving rise to a breach of contract claim for damages sustained in completing or correcting the abandoning contractor’s scope of work.
In the Greater Wilmington area, Wes Scott Jones is an attorney who is equipped to handle these types of problems. When you contract the services of Attorney Wesley Jones, his role will be to help you plot a course of action so there will be smooth sailing and no surprises. Learn more here: Construction Law Litigation
To contact the office of Wesley Scott Jones directly, please call 910-256-5800.