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Question DetailsAsked on 11/30/2016

I signed a contract to repair if insurance approve the coverage. I got the fund but can I cancel the contract?

I want to find another one to work because I don't like the contractor any more.

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1 Answer


You probably need an attorney to review the contract and advise you - because if the contract had all the essential elements of a contract, it is likely enforceable. A LOT of roofers and siding people (especially storm chasers) push claim assignment or project assignment contracts on homeowners after storms, guaranteeing that they will get the work and any insurance proceeds (and generally the insurance deductible and amortization amounts as well), and the homwowners do not realize they have basically signed away control over the work by signing it.

Your attorney can review the contract for the essential elements, but basically if it states it is a contract, identifies the parties to the contract and they date and sign it, it provides a scope of work, a location of the property where the work will be done, a contract performance period or completion date (which may be contingent and subject to some action or event such as if tied to receipt of insurance funds, for instance - but needs to be definitely determinable by a court once given the occurrence of any contingent events), and a price or compensation - which again has to be uniquely determinable by a court so can be a fixed $ amount, a time and materials with established markups agreement (BAD idea though), or can be tied to what the insurance company pays and figures as the deductible and amortization deduction and such - just has to be such that it can be determined once any contingent events (like insurance company determination) occur.

Also, if the contractor is required by law to have professional licensing (presumably as a general contractor or roofer) or be licensed as a business and is not, or is required by law to be insured and bonded but is not, courts will commonly allow the homeowner to revoke the contract - at least as long a work has not begun.

You can also reject the contract if you have good cause - like if the contractor is unable or unwilling to do the work, has been arrested for business fraud, etc - generally for issues which you did not know of when you signed the contract that would generally be considered to make him an unsuitable contractor. Gets to be a real gray area - for instance, if he gets arrested for DUI you mihght be able to cancel if he is jail so unable to do the job in the contractual timeframe - but if he is out probably not. Change that to being arrested (or convicted) of stealing from homes he is working on and the answer would probably be yes - though he could argue that lacking a conviction you do not have probable cause - hence, back to an attorney again.

You did not say WHY you now do not like him - that makes a difference too, because one element of a contract is that it should be commercially "fair" to each party (after taking into account risks and conditions) and that the contract fairly represents each party's expectations in signing the contract. For instance, if you expected a total reroof in the contract and he does a small repair on just one fully torn off part but not other damaged areas, that would be a case of your reasonable expectations not matching his - a lack of "meeting of the minds" regarding scope in that case. Some of the basic elements of a contract fall in that category - without a scope of work or compensation or period of performance (or completion date) it is pretty hard to say each party agreed on the terms of the contract, so in most cases lacking the basic elements a contract is generally voidable by either party - though in court the "reasonable expectations" and "fairness to all parties" doctrine sometimes leads the court to insert its own interpretation of missing elements in order to achieve the logical expectations of the parties - that there be a contract between them. Can get real messy either way - especially if work has begun.

You can find more previous similar questions with answers (especially about storm-chaser contractors and issues with their contracts) in the Home > Roofing and Home > Siding links in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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