If a builder has not completed my home within the stated substantial completion deadline, is that a breach of contract and can I legally ask for my deposit back?

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If a builder has not completed my home within the stated substantial completion deadline, is that a breach of contract and can I legally ask for my deposit back?

We are building a home and have had a terrible experience with our builder. Aside from being unprofessional and doing terrible work they are not fixing the things we want fixed. We want to get our money back and walk

away. The only recourse that I can see is that the home has taken longer to build than promised. In our contract it states that substantial completion should be within 240 days. We are now at 265 days and the home is not complete. Would we win in mediation or a court case based on this statute?

Asked on February 27, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the builder for breach of contract for failure to complete the work within 240 days as stated in the contract. The builder is also in breach of contract for substandard work for mistakes and failure to correct mistakes and repair items you requested.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) would include the cost of completion and correction of the substandard work, and compensation for not completing the work by the deadline stated in the contract.
You may be able to recover part of your deposit but not the entire deposit because a construction contract is an installment contract since the work is done in installments or portions. Breach of a portion does not breach the entire contract; only that portion. Therefore, your recovery of damages would be an amount for each portion (installment) breached and not the entire contract. You would not recover damages for portions of the work done correctly which is why you would only recover part of your deposit.
Although it is not possible to predict the outcome of your lawsuit, mediation,etc. , the above is what to expect.


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