Representing Businesses and Individuals in Chicago and Northern Illinois

What to do when a home project with a contractor goes wrong

Once a homeowner has hired a contractor for a home repair or remodeling project, they expect the work to be completed correctly. Unfortunately, projects can go awry. Sometimes the project takes longer than expected, the contractor uses the wrong materials or the work is not up to expectations. It is important to understand one’s rights under the contract if it is breached.

Document The Defects

The first step individuals should take is to document and photograph the work that has been completed at that time to demonstrate how the work was done incorrectly or how the contractor breached the contract.

Comply With Contractual Termination Provisions

Next homeowners should carefully review their contract to determine if it contains provisions about how and when you can terminate (fire) the contractor. Many contracts have “cure” provisions which allow the contractor an opportunity to fix problems of which they are made aware. Also, some contracts contain provisions requiring you to give certain written notices to your contractor before firing them. It is prudent to review these provisions with an attorney before formally firing your contractor.

Consider Alternative Dispute Resolutions

Continuing to work with a bad contractor can lead to more problems. But sometimes, the problem is communication. You might want to consider mediation as a possible path to resolution. Mediation is a process whereby a third party like a retired judge or a constructionlaw attorney can try to help the contractor and home owner to resolve their differences. In recent years, alternative dispute resolution (i.e., out of court solutions) have become widely used and accepted in the industry and can help save the parties a lot of time and money in the long run.

Seek Out Experienced Legal Counsel

An experienced real estate/construction law attorney can help you to navigate the dispute process and can be a critical advocate in dealing with complicated contracts and stubborn contractors. When the other side sees you are well represented, they will think twice about taking advantage of you.