If you’ve tried everything you can think of to resolve construction or repair issues but still aren’t getting anywhere, it may be time to bring in an attorney. However, there are ways to try and work things out before it gets to that point. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what you can do if you’re having contractor troubles and when it’s appropriate to bring in a contractor dispute lawyer.

Working Out Contractor Issues

In most troubles involving contractors, you’ll need to work in good faith to resolve the issues. You can often do this on your own, but an attorney may help you find a quicker resolution.

Residential Construction Liability laws provide the framework for homeowners who have issues they need to work out with their contractor. Before bringing a claim against your contractor, you’ll need to attempt the legal procedures to give notice, ask for an inspection, and settle claims.

Next, we’ll show you how to work through issues using the Texas Residential Construction Liability laws.

Texas Residential Construction Liability Laws

Under Chapter 27 of the Texas Property Code, you must work through the step-by-step process listed below with your builder or contractor before filing a claim for damages.

  1. If construction has defects, notify your contractor in writing through certified mail and with a return receipt requested. Write your notice with reasonable details of the construction defects and your name, address, and telephone number.
  2. You must allow 35 days for your contractor to inspect the property and see what is wrong.
  3. If the contractor asks for evidence, you’ll need to provide pictures or other proof of the defects.
  4. After inspection, you’ll need to let your contractor know what you expect to happen to fix the problem.
  5. Your contractor has 45 days from receiving your first notice of construction defects to make a written offer to you.
  6. In the offer, the contractor should detail what repairs they are willing to do for your problem. The contractor’s proposal must include an agreement to repair or repair by hiring an independent contractor.
  7. You may also hire a 3rd party inspector to help your contractor see what needs to happen next.
  8. You have 25 days from receiving their settlement offer to accept or reject their bid.
  9. If you reject the offer, send a letter explaining your reasons. Your letter will let your contractor know they may need to increase their bid. The contractor has the right to raise their offer within 10 days if you decline it.

If your contractor made an unreasonable offer to fix the problem, consider discussing your options with a local real estate attorney. An experienced real estate attorney will understand the legalities of your situation and help you obtain your best outcome.

Other Ways to Handle Contractor Problems

Call your city’s Permitting and Inspection Department or Chief Building Official (CBO) if you have problems with:

  • Building codes based on local construction practices, new products, and new technology.
  • Code amendments based on local construction practices, new products, and new technology.
  • Code interpretations made by the CBO during the project’s construction.
  • Inspections performed on the home during construction.

Sometimes, the city will dispatch an inspector to examine the situation and give an opinion based on local building code requirements. Your city may also have a builder registration program or a commission that addresses issues with contractors and related construction issues. (1)

When It’s Time to Bring In a Contractor Dispute Lawyer

If you’ve done everything possible to resolve your contractor’s construction defects, it’s time to call in the big guns. A local experienced real estate attorney may help you resolve issues to your satisfaction by filing a suit and working through negotiations. They may also find fine points of law to handle your case and get the outcome you need!

You may also file suit immediately if a contractor:

  • Abandons an improvement project before completion.
  • Retains, uses, disburses, or diverts trust funds with the intent to deprive you.
  • Keeps or uses trust funds and fails to keep up with their required construction account. (Section 162.006)
  • Fails to establish or maintain an account record for a construction account (Section 162.007)
  • Uses or moves trust funds you paid if their affidavit contains false information about their payment of current or past due obligations. (Section 53.085)
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly makes a false or misleading statement in an affidavit. (Section 53.085)
  • Commits fraud in a transaction involving real estate or stock in a corporation or joint stock company. (Business and Commerce Code)
  • Gives a false intentional representation of a past or existing material fact you relied on to induce you into the contract. (Business and Commerce Code)
  • Gives a false intentional promise to do a material act to induce you to enter the contract, and you relied on that promise. (Business and Commerce Code)
  • Causes personal injury (not emotional), 
  • Brings issues preventing survival or causing a wrongful death.
  • Causes damage to goods in your home.

If you have contractor problems and need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced real estate attorney in your area. They can help you understand your options and work towards your best outcome.

We Can Help

At Jarrett Law, our real estate legal team can help you with contractor disputes, construction defects, and more. We understand the legalities of your situation and can help you obtain your best outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!