At some point as a homeowner, you will probably hire a contractor. Maybe you want to install a pool or just remodel your guest bathroom – assuming you are not the “do it yourself” type, you will most likely hire a contractor to get the job done. Unfortunately, not all contractors are created equal- so what do you do when you find yourself in business with one doing a poor job? What happens if you get in a heated conversation with your contractor, and in the midst of your verbal battle, you demand that he leave the job site? You may think you both just need a cooling off period, and the contractor will be back to work the next day. However, the contractor may have a very different view – and the law may be on his side, to your detriment.
When the construction contract is silent on the subject, there is an implied covenant that the contractor will have possession of the job site in order to complete construction, and the owner will not limit access or otherwise interfere with performance of the contract. (Bomberger v. McKelvey, 35 Cal. 2d 607, 613, 220 P.2d 729 (1950) (Defendants’ conduct in forbidding plaintiffs to enter, therefore, was sufficient not only to excuse their performance but also to constitute a breach or anticipatory breach of the contract. Civ.Code, s 1511.) A breach of the covenant is a breach of contract and the contractor may rescind. (10 Cal. Real Est. § 27:75 (3d ed.) In other words, as soon as you demand your contractor leave the job site, you’re in breach of the contract. If this happens, the contractor can elect to rescind the contract or affirm the contract and recover damages.
So, before you lose your temper and ask your contractor to hit the road – take a deep breath and make sure you really want to terminate the relationship. If you do not, you may find yourself being sued by your contractor for wrongful termination – not to mention stuck looking for a new contractor to finish the remodel of your guest bathroom.
For more information on your construction dispute, please contact us at www.schorr-law.com, 310-954-1877 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.