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My fiance has a signed contract with a contractor to redo…

My fiance has a...

My fiance has a signed contract with a contractor to redo her bathroom. Halfway through the work, the contractor wants to increase the price because of some additional work he claims he had to do. My fiance has already paid half of the agreed upon price and wants to hold him to that price. The contractor refuses to continue and has quit the work. Can he be charged in small claims court with breach of contract?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Texas.

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

Not at this time. All of this transpired yesterday.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not that I can think of.

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
12/14/2017
Richard
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 56,578
Experience: 32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

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Good evening. Absolutely he's in breach of contract. He's the expert, he provided the estimate, and if he made an error, it's his risk to bear. First, she doesn't need to worry about the threat of any lien. If the contractor were to place a lien, he would not be able to do anything with it unless he filed a suit and prevailed in that suit. Given your fiance's facts, he would not prevail, and the court would simply order the lien released. And, if the contractor doesn't timely pursue the suit, the lien will lapse automatically. It's the contractor who is in default here and your fiance is the one with the recourse. What she wants to do is raise the stakes on him so that he knows that not complying with your demands is going to cost far more in the end than simply paying you now. First, I'd suggest she get an estimate from another contractor of the cost to properly complete the job. Then, she should send the existing contractor a certified, return receipt requested letter detailing the history, terminating the contract due to his default, and demand that he pay her an amount of money so that when the other contractor completes the job, she has paid in total no more than she would have paid him had he completed the job competently. She should inform him that if he does not comply with her demand within a short specified period of time, she will have no choice but to file a suit against him for her damages. BUT, she should be sure to specifically mention that she will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as gross negligence, fraud, and deceptive trade practice causes of action, which will entitle her not only to yher damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with her demands; but, if it does not, she should file the suit. Even if she has to file the suit, that's likely all she will need do. In my experience, he will settle this to her satisfaction without a hearing rather than risk punitive damages and the judgments.

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Richard
Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 56,578
Experience: 32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you very much. Your answer is very helpful and I am sure my fiance will be able to sleep better tonight. Thank you again.Bruce Loving

You're very welcome! It's been my honor and privilege to help you with this. If I can help you in any way in the future, I'll be happy to help. For easy access, my bookmark is: www.justanswer.com/law/expert-legalbeacon/ . Or, simply request “Richard only” in the first line of your question.

Thank you so much for the 5-star rating! I know rating takes an additional step and I truly appreciate you taking the extra time!

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Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 56,578
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Experience: 32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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