Let’s face it – the last thing anyone needs during a home renovation is to have to take legal action against a poor contractor. Whether it’s to do with a payment term disagreement, unfinished or low-quality work, or a whole host of other inconvenient situations, it’s definitely not the first thing on your list of life admin.
But, if the situation arises and there is no other alternative, it’s always a good idea to be prepared and know exactly what you’re taking legal action for and why. So, here are 3 signs that it might be time to roll your sleeves up and contact your lawyer.
1. Payment Disputes
In most construction cases, there will often be project changes due to unprecedented events, and these will typically add to the total cost of the project itself. It can also sometimes cause disputes and disagreements. Both contractors and homeowners can’t predict every single problem that arises during the course of the renovation – whether it’s an issue with soundproof windows or low-quality electrical wiring – naturally, when these problems pop up, your contractor will have to spend more money and time to fix them.
This is why it’s imperative your original contract should have a ‘change order procedure’ clause that decides how both parties will react to any changes that need to be made to the initial plan. If your contractor refuses to implement this clause into the contract, and parts of the plan need to be changed at a later date, you should consider getting in touch with your lawyer.
2. Timeframes And Delays
When it comes to home renovation and construction projects, a general timeline of when things will be finished should be drawn out. And while these timeframes are often a suggestion rather than a definitive, even if a final date is stated in the contract, you should expect some leeway.
This is because – due to problems that may arise as previously mentioned – it’s rare that any project will be finished bang on the deadline. You should always expect them to take slightly longer due to unforeseen circumstances, but the gray area really comes to light when a contractor and homeowner disagree on these delays.
For example, if your renovation takes a few weeks more to complete, this is usually fine. However, if it’s delayed by six months or more, that is when you can start raising issues. But make sure you factor in pandemic-related delays before you go full steam ahead. Generally, if your project isn’t finished half a year after the original deadline, you have the authority to take legal action, as these delays can cost homeowners thousands.
If your contractor has damaged your furniture or property, it’s best to seek legal help. You’ll need to document any damages before pursuing action and obtain quotes of how much it will cost to fix. Then, your lawyer will decide the best course of action to take. This is generally based on the extent of the damage and what your contract will allow. A dispute resolution may provide you with everything you need in some circumstances. In others, it may take action in a small claims court to resolve it.
Do What Is Best For You
At the end of the day, embarking on a home renovation is not a cheap process. This is why you need to ensure that your contractor is legitimate and gets the work done on time (within reason), without causing any other problems. And if you do find yourself in a predicament regarding your contractor, taking legal action may be your best bet.