Can I hold payment to a contractor who did not complete work in a satisfactory manner?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I hold payment to a contractor who did not complete work in a satisfactory manner?

Hardwood floors were installed and I paid half of the bill once materials were

purchased. There is an excess amount of debris caught under the first coat of

stain, there is an excess of blemishes on the top coat from improper finishing, and there are close to a dozen boards that are splitting enough to catch a toe on it. Also, the floor was not sealed properly and there are multiple cracks between boards. I met with the contractor and he that it is not his fault and that it is the quality of the wood. He states that he’ll charge me over $1300 to remove and replace the boards and refinish. I asked that he fix his work and I would pay him the remainder of the original estimate, however he had only offered to add another coat of stain which will only cover up the debris but do nothing about the split boards. There was no written contract signed and the contractor is a non-U.S. citizen. I don’t know where to go from here.

Asked on May 28, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can refuse to pay because the contract turned in not professionally acceptable work. The contractor may try to sue you for the balance due, but you could raise the contractor's negligence and breach of contract (not providing the agreed-upon quality of work) as a defense in court, at which time the court will decide, based upon the contractor's performance, how much of the balance you need to pay. You could also sue or countersue for the cost to have some other contractor repair or contract the work, if this one will not do so.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption