Thank you; it makes it more difficult when there is not time is of the essence clauses; however if it can be proven that the delays are due solely to the contractor's inaction (as opposed to weather/equipment/shipment delays) then the court does have the ability to consider it a breach of contract. The homeowner can consider a material breach a repudiation of the contract, and can then hire a third party to complete the work and request the amount charged by the third party contractor as damages.
It is best to give a contractor a final date by which work must be completed, detailing all of the delays and the fact that there was no justification for the delays.
For amounts less than $7500 small claims is appropriate
otherwise general civil court would be required. Because the process is more difficult it is best to hire an attorney to draft the custom documents and to help navigate through the system. If the contract provides for attorney fees, this also can be requested.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.