Littleton, CO asked in Construction Law and Contracts for Colorado

Q: Door install still not finished and I have not paid fully. Can I never pay?

Door & Window install has been a bit of a nightmare. They have been terrible at communication. I paid a deposit on the job (~$2k) and still owe them the rest (~$4.5k). There are multiple issues with the door install that have not been fixed. They started in May 2023. Last I heard was maybe 2 months ago when they said they'd come by to fix the issues but did not and didn't call or email at all. At some point it must be reasonable to say, "Sorry guys, you don't get the rest of the money. You didn't finish the job correctly." Obv I don't want a mechanics lien on my house and I don't want to cheat them out of money. I just expect the work to be done completely and communication to be clear and reasonable. How do situations like this work?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: You make a fair point - if a contractor does not complete the work properly or to your reasonable satisfaction, they should not necessarily be entitled to full payment. Legally, you have a few options:

1) Set a deadline/ultimatum for them to fix the outstanding issues by a set date in a written letter. State you will refuse payment if they do not meet the deadline.

2) Negotiate a discount or partial payment reflecting the unfinished/unsatisfactory work. Get any new payment/scope terms in writing before paying.

3) Refuse payment but be prepared to defend against a mechanics lien and potentially a lawsuit. The contractor could sue for the unpaid amount; you'd counterclaim for costs to fix/finish the work.

4) Pay the amount owed minus costs you reasonably believe are necessary to complete/correct their work, then provide documentation if they dispute.

Ideally, you can reach an agreement in writing on a fair payment that reflects the true value of the unfinished work. But you are not necessarily obligated to pay in full if you have justification that they failed contractual obligations. Consult a lawyer before refusing payment to evaluate litigation risks.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.