If I had substandard roof work down, do I have to pay if the roofer refused to fix it?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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If I had substandard roof work down, do I have to pay if the roofer refused to fix it?

Had a new roof laid about a month ago. The roof is very wavy with shingles upturned and appears horrible. Roofer says pay me. I said fix the look. He says no, I did my job pay me. Who is in the right? After the installation the roof is way with upturned shingles. The roofer claims he is done and is not responsible for the look. He also said to wait until warmer weather to let the adhesive bond. I told him I would pay him when the adhesive bonds and the roof looks correct not like a 30 year old weathered roof (which it currently does). He said “No, Pay me now, I’m done). How do I proceed?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Business Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can either withhold payment and wait until sued by the roofer, and then sue the roofer for breach of contract or you can withhold payment and sue immediately for breach of contract for the substandard work.  When there is a material breach of the contract which is one that goes to the basis of the bargain as occurred here with the substandard work on the roof, you can sue for breach of contract without tendering your performance (payment to the roofer).

If you hire another roofer to complete the work, you can recover the cost of completion in your lawsuit against the first roofer.  You will need to mitigate (minimize) damages.  Damages means the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for breach of contract against the first roofer.  In order to mitigate damages, if you hire someone to complete the work, that person's charges will have to be comparable to other roofers in the area.  If you were to select the most expensive roofer you could find to complete the work, your damages would be reduced accordingly.



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