The wisest use of legal services is before the problem develops or getting involved as early as possible in a dispute situation.
We can help homeowners with reviewing contractors’ proposals and contracts, making sure that they comply with the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractors statutes and regulations. Quite often, the contracts you may be tendered are not in full compliance of the statutory scheme for home improvement contracts. Insufficiencies with contract terms makes obligations due under the contract unsure. The following are some of the things an owner is entitled to under these statutes:
For example, did you know that all home improvement contracts over one thousand dollars have to be in writing? That the date on which the work under the contract is scheduled to begin and the date on which said work is scheduled to be substantially completed must be provided in the contract? That the contract must include a detailed description of the work to be done and the materials to be used in the performance of said contract? That the total amount agreed to be paid for the work to be performed under said contract has to be stated in the contract? That a time schedule of payments to be made under said contract must be provided in the contract? That the owner must be furnished with a copy of the contract signed by both the contractor and the owner? That no work shall begin prior to the signing of the contract and transmittal to the owner of a copy of such contract? That the homeowner has a three day right to cancellation?
In addition, what we see frequently with issues with home improvement contracts that turn into disputes is that the scope of the work - and, the exclusions to the scope of work - are not sufficiently defined in the contract. Homeowners can benefit from Mr. Sauer’s thirty-four years of experience with these issues. And, if desired, we can do this review of the proposal and of the contract for a flat fee. (No hourly billing!)
In addition, we can assist the homeowner with negotiations with the general contractor, both with initial contract issues and with change order issues. We find that with most home improvement jobs, the owner has not retained an architect and, therefore, may not be familiar with the technical aspects of disputes or with what is usual within the construction industry.
Please note that the home improvement contracts statutes provide for arbitration and mediation of disputes in certain circumstances. If you need an attorney to represent you at a mediation (or, for that matter, with arbitration or litigation), we have a lot of experience in doing so.