What can I do if my builder is demanding more money even though we have a firm price contract agreement?

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What can I do if my builder is demanding more money even though we have a firm price contract agreement?

I an building a home and have original fixed price contract agreement with the builder. The builder has completed 80% of the work but now has stopped

work demanding 6% extra payment for

Asked on October 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) He can only demand additional costs for "increase in material and labor costs" if the contract specifically stated he could get these (e.g. there was some clause in one way or another indicating that he could pass along increases).
2) If you pay under duress, it will be difficult to recover the money later; your payment may be taken to indicate approval of or consent to the costs.
3) You could, if you believe that the increase is unjustified and the builder delays the work or refuses to the work, bring a legal action for "specific performance"--a type of lawsuit in which you seek a court order compelling him to perfrom as the per the contract and finish the work. Such a legal action is more complex than, say, a small claims case, and you really should retain an attorney to bring one, rather than trying to handle it yourself--but you would then need to balance or weigh the cost of the litigation vs. the additional cost the builder seeks, to see if it's worthwhile litigating.
4) The language from the contract you quote, assuming it is in the contract, could be used to justify the increase, if the builder can substantiate the increases he has faced.


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