Laguna Beach, CA asked in Construction Law for California

Q: Home remodel went 70% over budget—and contract is fuzzy. Do we still owe our general contractor his 15% final payment?

Our G.C. said he could remodel and expand our small, 50-year-old Calif. home for $300,000 and complete in 8 months. After 11.5 months, we insisted on moving back in even though it was not completed. Total cost for labor/materials so far has been around $470,000. Due to the delays, we had to pay an extra $12,000 in rent for the condo we were living in.

GC says we still owe him 15% of total project cost for his profit. We don't want to be jerks, but we feel his disorganization and mismanagement cost us a good chunk of $$, so it is our opinion that an additional 15% (on top of all the labor we already paid him) is unwarranted. The contract is somewhat flimsy (sigh!), so we are at an impasse.

BTW, there were no change orders and we did not "go big" on finishes; all bathrooms used IKEA vanities, for example. The only real changes we made were to cut out items along the way (patio trellis, metal roof, etc.) so as to save money

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1 Lawyer Answer
George W. Wolff
George W. Wolff
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Home Improvement Contracts are required to be in writing and for a fixed price, have a fixed completion date and have certain other requirements.

Have an experienced Construction Litigation Attorney review your contract and the facts and advise you on your legal rights and remedies.

It sounds like he may be taking advantage of you, from what you have said.

George Wolff'

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