You have a construction or renovation project coming up. So you have identified and paid a contractor. Then halfway through the job, the contractor goes MIA. Now you are stuck with an incomplete project, limited funds and unused materials. What happens next?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a contractor to abandon a project before completion. If this happens to you, it is important to understand that you have options.
Here are two things you can do when a contractor abandons your project.
Try to reach out to them
If the contractor leaves the job without explanation, you may want to reach out to them to establish what went wrong. After all, they could have a valid reason for their absence. Perhaps they were taken ill or are dealing with a personal or family issue that is preventing them from reporting to work. Or, there could be an underlying pay or labor misunderstanding. A phone call could be all it takes to resolve the misunderstanding.
If you cannot get hold of them, however, then you need to get more serious. At this point, you may want to write a demand letter. If they fail to respond to this, then you need to begin exploring your legal options, especially if they left your property in a dangerous or uninhabitable state.
Pursue a claim
You can sue a contractor for damages resulting from project abandonment. But before you do so, you need to gather your evidence. If you signed a contract (which you should), this should be the time to review the termination clause.
Some of the damages you can sue the contractor for include:
- Reimbursement for any upfront payments you made
- Reimbursement for damaged construction materials
- Emotional distress
Protecting your rights
A contractor not living up to their end of the deal can leave you out of pocket. If this has happened to you, it is important that you understand and explore your legal rights.