As a homeowner, it’s important to be vigilant about the work contractors do on your property. Unfortunately, not all contractors take their responsibilities seriously, and sometimes they can cause serious damage or leave projects unfinished. In these cases, it’s important to know what your rights are and how to protect yourself.
Unfortunately, most people don’t understand the contract they’ve signed, or they’re unaware of the law. As a result, they may be left with a shoddy job and a hefty bill. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself if you think your contractor is not doing their part. Here are the most important tips to keep in mind:
Review Your Contract Carefully
The first step is to review your contract carefully. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions, including the payment schedule. In general, you should only pay for work that has been completed and if you’re not happy with the quality of the work, you have the right to withhold payment. And while you’re at it, make sure you have a written contract in the first place. This will protect you if there are any disputes later on. If there are any clauses that you’re not comfortable with, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification from your contractor. It’s also a good idea to have a lawyer look over the contract before you sign it. This way, you can be sure that you’re protected in the event of a dispute.
Understand Different Types of Subdivision Bonds
If you’re having work done on your property as part of a subdivision, the developer may be required to post a subdivision bond. This type of bond is designed to protect homeowners from shoddy work or developers who abandon the project. There are two different types of subdivision bonds: performance bonds and construction bonds. Performance bonds are typically used for larger projects, while construction bonds are more common for smaller ones. If you’re not sure whether or not a bond is required, be sure to do your research and read more about this matter before signing any contracts. Be sure to consult with your lawyer if you have any questions.
Hire Only Licensed Contractors
In most cases, you should only hire licensed contractors. This is because these professionals are required to follow certain standards and they’re also insured. This means that if something goes wrong, you may be able to get compensated for any damages. In contrast, unlicensed contractors often cut corners and they’re not held to the same standards. As a result, it’s much riskier to hire one of these individuals. You should also check if they are properly licensed in your state. In some cases, out-of-state contractors may try to do work in your state without the proper licensing. This could result in serious legal penalties. So, be sure to ask for proof of licensing before hiring any contractor.
Inspect the Work Regularly
While the contractor is working on your property, it’s important to inspect the work regularly. This way, you can catch any problems early on and avoid larger issues later. For example, if you notice that the foundation isn’t level, this is a major problem that needs to be fixed immediately. Otherwise, it could cause serious damage to your property in the future. In general, you should check on the progress of the work at least once a week. If possible, try to schedule these inspections when the workers are present so you can ask them any questions that you may have. It is also a good idea to hire a professional inspector to come and assess the quality of the work periodically.
Get Everything in Writing
When it comes to dealing with contractors, it’s important to get everything in writing. This includes the contract, as well as any oral agreements that you make. For example, if the contractor promises to fix a problem within a certain time frame, make sure you get this in writing. This way, you have something to fall back on if the problem isn’t fixed in the promised time frame. In general, it’s best to avoid oral agreements altogether. This is because they can be difficult to prove later on if there’s a dispute. So, if possible, always get everything in writing before work begins. And if the contractor tries to pressure you into making an oral agreement, be sure to hold your ground and insist on a written contract.
Dealing with contractors can be a stressful experience. But if you take the necessary precautions, you can protect yourself from potential problems. From reading the contract carefully to getting everything in writing, as you can see, there are many things you can do to safeguard your interests. By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of dealing with a difficult contractor. And if you do run into any problems, you’ll be better equipped to handle them.