Ideally, a home contractor arrives on time, completes the project within budget and the homeowner has no issues with the work. Other times, the homeowner might experience real or perceived issues and prefer not to work with the contractor anymore. Unfortunately, firing the contractor on the spot might lead to additional costs and incomplete work.
Homeowners need to take a closer look at the termination clause in the contract before making a decision. It might at first seem there is more leeway to proceed when the contract is not in writing, but this can prove risky as well. The homeowner might end up liable for not just his or her own legal fees but also the cost of materials and services so far.
What is a material breach of contract?
The grounds for firing a contractor become clearer when the homeowner can identify a material breach of contract. It is not always easy to determine, however, what constitutes a material break; essentially it comes down to the seriousness of the breach. For instance, minor imperfections might not constitute a material breach. In contrast, uneven floors after adding a room might prove adequate. It depends on the facts and circumstances.
Resolving conflicts with contractors therefore depends on very specific determinations – and are often best done with assistance from an experienced attorney. To get started, consider these tips:
- Take a second look at the contract to see if it provides any guidelines.
- Determine exactly what the issues are and consider putting it on paper.
- Remain open to hearing the contractor’s side of the story or explanation.
- Avoid inviting unnecessary people to the conversation, whether directly or by shouting angrily within earshot of others.
- Try to avoid placing blame and, instead, focus on creating a plan to establish the solution.
Disagreements are a natural part of doing business. Customers and contractors naturally do not always agree. It makes sense to be aware, however, of how important legal guidance can be in avoiding or resolving a dispute.