How to deal with a bad contractor?
Home renovations have a reputation for going over budget and time limits. Oftentimes because homeowners run into issues such as uncovering termite damage or realizing a wall is a load-bearing. However, sometimes it’s due to more serious reasons, such as shoddy work from your contractor. If you’re dealing with a contractor who isn’t upholding their contract, here are some steps to get your home renovation back on track:
From the very first time you sign anything with your contractor, you should be keeping your own copies. This ensures that you can back up your claims if need be. Take photos of any areas of your renovation that you are displeased with, and include a date and time stamp. It’s also a good idea to back up these files digitally.
Before taking any drastic steps, it’s best to touch base with your contractor and discuss what parts of the project you have concerns about. It may be something as simple as fixing a breakdown in communication so you are aware of any time delays. If talking with your contractor does not solve the issue, you can also send a strongly worded letter citing what parts of your contract are not being met.
Speak to supervisors
Your problems with the home renovation might be caused by the craftsmen and not the contractor. Oftentimes different teams have different supervisors. For example, the group installing your kitchen may operate separately from the group doing the plaster and crown molding. If there is a particular part of the project you have concerns about, speak with the supervisor for that area.
Submit a claim
Before signing with any contractor, check to see if they are bonded. A bond is a surety policy from the contractor’s insurance agency that protects customers from shoddy work. Get all the contractor’s insurance information upfront when signing. You will need this information to start a claim, and once it has been initiated, they may be much less willing to give it to you.
Contact the state licensing board
If the state licensing board gets involved, your contractor risks losing their license, and thus will usually work to resolve things quickly. The state board will usually force the contractor to remediate the situation via mediation hearing, or through personal negotiations with you.
Unfortunately, firing your contractor may be more complicated than simply parting ways. Due to the way contracts are written and how they evolve as the project progresses, it may land you in legal trouble. Check your contract thoroughly to be sure of how to proceed.
Leave an honest review
If you think leaving a negative review is petty, think about how you could have saved all this hassle if someone else had spoken up about their experience. The key is, to be honest, and factual. This ensures both that your review stays professional in tone and that it doesn’t contain any misinformation that could land you in trouble.
Hire a lawyer
An experienced construction litigation attorney can help you navigate all the nuances of home renovation to make sure you aren’t being taken advantage of. Construction litigation lawyers can translate all the legalese in your contract to determine the best course of action, and may even be able to get you compensation.
A payment holdback is a tool you can use to withhold a certain percentage of the agreed payment until the work is completed to the terms of the contract. It is best to discuss this option with a construction lawyer to ensure you are not breaching the contract yourself.
Disputes with your contractor are a headache, and living in a construction zone does nothing to make that headache better. Just keep in mind that both of your goals are to finish the project, and work towards that together.