Resolving A Dispute With Your Contractor
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
People who accomplish their own home improvements have my abiding admiration. However, if you are as handy as a foot, as I am, home improvements require contractors. Even with thorough vetting and a well-constructed contract, disputes can arise between you and your contractor. When disagreements occur, several measures are available.
The first recourse is party-to-party negotiation in which you discuss the disagreement with the contractor in order to clear up any misunderstandings and make necessary compromises. Secondly, you can approach the state/county agency that licenses your contractor, as these agencies may offer resolution programs. A third possibility is mediation, in which a disinterested expert listens to both sides, helps each side understand the other’s perspective, and issues a non-binding opinion for settlement. A fourth prospect is binding arbitration, in which a disinterested expert listens to both sides and issues a binding decision that cannot be appealed. Mediators and arbitrators can be found here: American Arbitration Association Small claims court is a fifth possibility for resolving a dispute without involving lawyers and the court clerk is your key source for information about all aspects of that process. Finally, if all else fails, you should hire an attorney who is experienced in construction litigation and trust his/her expertise in guiding you through the process.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO avoid court altogether through party-to-party negotiations, resolution programs with state/country agencies, mediation or binding arbitration.
DO find a mediator or arbitrator here: American Arbitration Association
DO resort to court through small claims court or a higher court with representation by an attorney experienced in construction litigation.
By Kathy Catanzarite
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.