Problems can arise in any contract deal, normally when you make a contract agreement with a contractor he’s expected to finish the job as specified and within the time frame. There shouldn’t be any problem and when the contract is over everyone can go their ways, that’s how things are supposed to be in the perfect world, but we don’t live in a perfect world anymore, most of the times disputes always come around and we have to figure out how to deal with contractor disputes. When there is a dispute between you and your contractor you should figure an effective way to settle the matter.
Review Contract Carefully
This is the first and most important step that needs to be taken in order to avoid dispute between you and your contractor, even if a dispute arises it’s easier to deal with if there is a clear statement that defines the terms of the contract. Include all the projects requirements and include important aspects like start and end date, the scope of work and every other detail that’s relevant. Also, don’t sign any contract agreement with a contractor if you notice any term you don’t understand, contractors are well known for using tricky words and statements to take advantage of clients when it comes to the quality of work. Try and write down all the project specifications in a way that even a layman can understand.
Areas that lead to dispute include the following aspects;
- The time for the contractor to begin working on your project.
- The specified time to finish the entire project.
- Who is responsible for covering material costs?
- Making a full payment before the contractor begins to work.
- Making advance payments before the commencement of work.
- Or paying a specified amount at different levels of the project.
Talk To Your Contractor When There Is A Problem
The first thing to do when you notice something you’re not happy about is to talk to your contractor regarding the situation, a mutual conversation can most of the time solve the problem without any additional expenses or legal interference. Try and reason with them so that they can make all the necessary adjustments are needed from their own part. Always have your contract agreement copy with you to present to the contractor in case the service isn’t delivered as promised.
Most of the time talking to the contractor can solve minor issues that involve low expenses but for bigger problems even talking to the employer might not solve the problem unless there is a legal intervention. If talking to the contractor doesn’t work there are still other options that are out of legal intervention. Most of the time people don’t want to involve in any litigation due to the costs that are involved and the time it can take to go through a lawsuit, there are of course other less expensive options like state and local agencies,
Most contractor licensing agencies in your state provide resolution programs for contractor disputes, these programs can favor the contractor in some ways, but they’re still effective when it comes to making resolutions and using this option can save the client a lot of money. If you’re not OK with the working policies of state and local agencies you can go for another settlement process such as mediation and binding arbitration. This is also another good option if you want to save money.
Filing A Case In The Court
If you have tried all the possible options you have and things didn’t work out, it’s now time to use small claim court. If the amount involved shouldn’t be more than $5000. With these small cases, you won’t normally even need a lawyer; you’ll receive simple instructions that are easy to understand so you can file your own small claims court case.
You should file the case in the county where the contractor resides or where you live or the area where the project is located. Filing small claims like this might cost $75 for the filing fees and other fees may apply.
You should document everything and provide evidence to the court that shows that there is a breach of contract from the other party who is involved. Point out exact statements on the contract paper that show clearly what has been agreed upon, take photos of the project if it hasn’t been completed the way it has been specified in the contract.
If you’re dealing with higher amounts than $5,000 you need to consult a professional attorney to do the claims for you. Here at Massey & Duffy, we specialize in dealing with contract disputes between clients and contractors. If you have any problems with a contractor, give us a call now and we’ll be happy to provide you with all the support you need to handle your dispute.