Remodeling your home is a great way to build equity in your property while creating a more comfortable and more livable space for you and your family. But a home remodel project can easily run into trouble, especially when economic times are good because a good economy means well-qualified contractors are busy – and that in turn leads many homeowners, anxious to get going on their project, to hire less-qualified contractors. And, even if you have a good contractor, it only takes one bad subcontractor or employee to make a mess of things.
Typical problems that arise with home remodeling projects include:
- The job is taking way longer than anticipated because it is poorly manned, or the people on site lack the necessary skills;
- The job is way over budget through no fault of the homeowner, or through some combination of contractor incompetence and “scope creep” – meaning the job has expanded in size.
- The contractor has performed defective work but instead of fixing it the right way, he tries a “patch,” or he tries to tell the owner that despite what the designer or architect specified, the contractor’s method is just as good or better.
- The contractor’s bad work has damaged other parts of the house, such as from a poorly installed roof or a plumbing leak that leads to water and mold damage.
As construction defect attorneys, one situation we see frequently is that when things “go south,” homeowners stick with their troublesome contractor for too long. This is not surprising because:
- the homeowners have by that time paid a good sum of money to their contractor,
- they are worried that hiring a new contractor to take over the job will be difficult or more costly than trying to get their errant contractor to just finish the job, and/or
- the contractor threatens to file a lien or sue in an effort to “bully” the homeowner into not taking action.
Staying with a bad contractor – especially without consulting legal counsel – almost never works out well for a homeowner. Before you keep throwing good money after bad, you need to know what rights you have under your contract, what your obligations are, whether the contractor has been complying with the applicable plans, specifications, and building codes – and how you might best extricate yourself from a bad situation. Part of that process will be to get a forensic construction expert, or perhaps a well-qualified contractor, to assess the existing state of things at your home, the work yet to be done to repair bad work and complete unfinished work, and the estimated cost.
Waiting, debating, and hoping are not good strategies when a home remodel project is in trouble. Find capable legal counsel to help you promptly navigate your way toward a finished remodeling project, with as little excess expense as possible, so that you and your family can put the dispute with your contractor behind you and enjoy the fruits of your vision and investment.