Thursday, February 16, 2006

Contracts for Home Contractors

Home contractors should be careful when drafting their contracts to make sure that they are in compliance with state law. If your particular state does not have a law governing home improvement contractors, a good example of a "proper" home improvement contract can be found at Other factors to consider are including provisions for mediation, arbitration and an allocation of attorneys' fees. It is important to spell out the quality of materials to be used and the allowance for those materials. For a contractor who works on a larger projects, it may be worthwhile to have a lawyer review your contract prior to presenting it to a homeowner. In Massachusetts, the failure to prepare a contract that is in compliance with the law can result in double or treble damages, attorney's fees and costs against the contractor. That is why it is wise to prevent problems and prepare good contracts from the beginning.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Arbitration Clauses

Home contractors and homeowners should consider whether they want to insert arbitration clauses into their contracts. Arbitration usually offers a quicker alternative to litigation. It can also be a less expensive process if the parties agree to keep to a timetable and limit discovery. Some states, such as Massachusetts, have home improvement contractor arbitration programs. It is assumed that homeowners have the right to arbitrate if they satisfy certain requirements, but contractors who want this right must insert an arbitration clause into their contracts. The parties should also consider where the arbitration will be held, which state's laws will apply, and whether any particular arbitration companies will be used. Making agreements about these issues in advance helps to prevent problems later on. One must keep in mind however, that arbitration is usually binding, and the right of appeal is very limited. So, be careful to read the contract and think about whether arbitration would be suitable for your given arrangement.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Make Sure the Contractor is Registered

In Massachusetts, all home improvement contractors are required to register with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS). It is very important to check if your state has a registration requirement. If so, you must check to see if your contractor is registered. If not, do not hire him or her! It has been shown tht there are far more incidents of problems with unregistered contractors. In fact, contractors may incur criminal penalties for failing to register. This is an easy tip to follow, and homeowners can save themselves a great amount of trouble if they do.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Introduction to My Blog

I am an attorney who represents both home contractors and homeowners when disputes arise between them. People tend to call me after problems have developed when it no longer seems possible for them to resolve the issues themselves. Unfortunately, I am presented with many situations that could have been avoided with careful planning, or improved communication. The purpose of this blog is to provide a guide for both homeowners and contractors to help them prevent disputes, avoid collection difficulties and make for satisfying stress-free projects.