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What constitutes job abandonment?

California

My contractor (in California) told us that he would have a full crew working on our remodel and estimated that painting and stucco work would take about two weeks to complete. Two MONTHS later, there has never been more than one person working, our project is at a standstill and he is asking that we purchase the materials needed to complete it, even though they are clearly included in the contract. He is stating that as long as he has somebody here once a week, we have no recourse under job abandonment regulations. Is this true?

3 replies

Jun 28, 2018
California Business & Professions Code §7107 states "Abandonment of a construction project or operation without legal excuse" is a violation of the Code. Unfortunately, the code does not do much to define what constitutes "abandonment." However, a contractor acting in bad faith and straying from their contract could face many other issues other than merely "abandonment." First, California Business & Professions Code §7109 states that "Willful departure from or disregard of accepted trade standards or plans and specifications" will result in a violation. It's entirely possible that only employing one person on a job intended for a full crew would qualify as a "Willful departure from or disregard of accepted trade standards..." which could serve as the basis for a complaint to the Contractors Licensing Board. Further, "Failing to complete a construction project or operation for the price stated in the contract or in any modification to the contract" is also a violation under §7113 of the California Business & Professions Code. Regardless, a complaint might not be the only option to force a contractor to perform work. If the contractor has strayed from their duties under the contract, a breach of contract claim could be an option (along with a number of potential claims with the Contractors License Board). Threatening a contractor with a breach of contract action and/or threatening to make a claim with the Contractors License Board could compel them to perform as required by contract. This is all to say that, while a contractor may be able to try and subvert abandonment rules on a technicality, even if successful, there are a number of other issues they might face. Any potential violation or legal claim can be used as leverage to convince a contractor to act appropriately. Plus manipulating, or attempting to manipulate, abandonment rules may be ineffective or could potentially be a violation in and of itself.
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Aug 7, 2020
I am curious how threatening to turn the contractor into the authorities has worked out for you?
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Jan 7, 2021
This is a comment : the contractor started the job 10/1/20 a rap around porch and walkway ( sand Finnish) the porch is to be tiled and 2x 10ft fences . The porch was done but not the Finnish that was expected ( heavy trall marks sotty discoloration) fences were cut short after telling them when FIRST just started to build it and he keep building it. I told him that I did appreciate the work but it’s not right or what we talked about And it needs to be redone , now I’ve not heard from them in over 2 months no workers no communication jobs still not finished but on the plus side he has. Or asked for a Dime yet but that’s not the point I wanted the work done . Is this job abandonment ?
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