What Are Your Rights When a Contractor Doesn't Do Their Job?

Whether you are in the process of building your own home or need to renovate or remodel parts of your house, the chances are good that you can't handle all of the work yourself. Some people rely on contractors to handle the entire process of building or remodeling. Others do some of the manual labor themselves and outsource the more skilled jobs, such as the installation or updating of plumbing or electrical wiring.

Regardless of how big the project is or how much responsibility you allocate to the contractor, you are generally dependent on them to follow through with the job as promised. Unfortunately, some contractors do mediocre work. Others outsource their job to poorly paid subcontractors without as much experience or skill. Some contractors will even accept a down payment for services and then never show up to work.

Regardless of which situation describes what you have experienced, you have rights under Florida law when a contractor breaches their agreement with you.

The law lets you hold a contractor accountable for substandard work

Ideally, before you agree to give any sort of money to a contractor you hire, you will sign either an estimate or a contract. These documents typically outline your expectations from the contractor and their obligations to you.

A contract or estimate makes it much easier to demonstrate conclusively to the courts that a contractor has not fulfilled its obligations to you. However, just because you don't have a written contract doesn't mean you can't still take legal action.

For example, if a contractor uses materials known to be inadequate for the job or if their work fails relatively quickly after the completion of the project, those could both be situations in which the court would agree that the contractors' work did not meet reasonable expectations, even with a verbal agreement. You can also pursue compensation if a contractor takes payment but does not do the job.

Contract law is complex and confusing for most people

Contract law, especially when it comes to construction, is very difficult for the average person to understand. The jargon for both legal terms and construction may make it hard to understand the contracts you have.

Beyond that, the language of the law is such that while people may believe they understand it, their interpretation may not match the way the courts interpret the law. If you know you are going to have to take action against the contractor who didn't do their work or did a very bad job, speaking with an attorney before you take any more steps is a good decision.

Sometimes just having an attorney contact the contractor is enough to resolve the issue. Other times, you will need to take the case all the way to the courts. A lawyer will be able to help you make progress with a contractor who isn't doing their work or who did a very bad job on your home.