Builder or Contractor did a poor job? How to seek relief in Georgia (including Right to Repair Act)

Whether it is repairing the clogged toilet, or adding a new wing onto your home, any longstanding homeowner has at least some experience in dealing with a residential contractor. When you are looking for a contractor, many people speak to a few pros before deciding to hire one, hopeful that they made the best decision for price and quality.

Even if you vet the contractor thoroughly, things do not always go as expected. There can be problems with substandard work, higher costs, and unfinished work. There can be delays, problems with permits, and unexpected issues that cause you headaches.

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What happens when things go very wrong? How can a homeowner get the issues resolved? Can the homeowner attempt to address the issue with the contractor? What if the contractor doesn’t listen? Should the homeowner sue? Are there any other alternatives?

Contractor issues in new and existing property can surface in a number of ways. The homeowner may bring an action for failing to use proper materials, inadequate workmanship or performing work that is below industry standards. When a defect of this nature occurs, the homeowner can bring a claim for breach of construction contract. Below is a description of some of the relevant laws in Georgia affecting construction disputes.

Warranties. Georgia law requires that homebuilders and contractors provide a warranty to homeowners prior to construction. The warranty must be written and fully explain the damages to which it applies. The warranty should state how long it is in effect and the process of filing and responding to claims.  This applies to projects that are valued at more than $2500. Typically, a warranty issued by a contractor covers defective workmanship and faulty materials and will not apply to normal wear and tear resulting from use of the home. If the homeowner makes a claim as specified in the warranty and the builder fails to remedy the issue, then the homeowner can seek legal remedies.

Right to Repair Act. A homeowner who wants to file suit against a contractor must follow the requirements set forth in the Right to Repair Act. Under the statute, the homeowner must notify in writing each contractor who performed worked on the home at least 90 days before filing suit. If the construction defect resulted in injury or death, the notice requirement is waived. The contractor must reply in writing within 30 days after notice has been received. The contractor has the option to inspect the property and decide whether repairs are necessary. The contractor may determine that repairs are not necessary and provide a written explanation of his reasons. Alternatively, the contractor may simply refrain from visiting the premises and settle the claim through payment or making repairs. The homeowner can reject the offer to repair the premises, but must provide a written explanation for his decision.

Lawsuit. If actions fail to repair the damage under the Right to Repair Act, a lawsuit may be filed as a last resort. The homeowner may file a lawsuit in the event he declines the settlement offer, the contractor has not fixed the defect or the contractor has failed to respond to the notification. The amount of the damages and the complexity of issues will determine which court to ultimately file.

Thrift & McLemore’s attorneys are qualified in the State of Georgia to navigate contractor disputes on behalf of their clients.  Rest assured that you are in good hands with Thrift & McLemore as we have handled numerous construction cases, and achieved results for our clients countless times. Contact Thrift & McLemore by email at [email protected] or by phone at 678-784-4150 to discuss how we can help you today!

https://consumer.georgia.gov/consumer-topics/right-to-repair-act

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