Dispute over contractual enforcement leaves hole in house

As New Jersey business owners know, it helps to have everything in writing when working with a customer. Even when both parties agree on a contract at first, issues can arise later due to lack of funding. These issues can later lead to complications and disputes between the two.

A North Carolina woman is currently embroiled in a dispute with a contractor over stabilization of the foundation of her mother's home. The contractor was hired to dig out loose dirt under the mobile home and repair the foundation to make it more stable. All the work that was to be performed was included in the contract, with the estimate ranging from $4,900 to $7,900. Both parties agreed and signed off.

Once the contractor began work, the woman changed her mind and decided she wanted a storm shelter. The contract did not mention a storm shelter, but the contractor agreed to one if the woman paid extra money. The woman, who lives on a fixed income, could not afford the storm shelter, so she refused to pay the additional costs. The contractor stopped work and left the home half-done.

The woman and contractor argued over contractual enforcement until the contractor agreed to fill in the hole and grade the lot. If the woman wants a storm cellar, she will need to pay extra. The woman agreed, but was still not completely satisfied with the resolution.

In a perfect world, contracts would be carried about without any issues or disagreements. However, breaches of contract do occur quite frequently, particularly over financial issues. In this case, the contractor did his part by adhering to the agreed-upon contract. Since no storm shelter was mentioned in the contract, he was not obligated to build one for the woman.

Understanding how a contract works and ensuring that it is upheld is not so easily done. It can get especially complicated if disputes arise. If a contract is breach, it is important that the person seeking enforcement understand their options and ways to enforce the contract. This might mean seeking advice and assistance from a professional.

Source: WCNC.com, "Contract dispute leaves woman's home on unstable ground," Bill McGinty, June 14, 2013


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