Your involvement in real estate ventures likely means you deal with contractors. Ideally, you will hire companies that take pride in their work and guard their reputations by focusing on your satisfaction. However, not every contractor is able to live up to these standards, and you may find yourself dealing with someone who wastes your time and places your project’s success in jeopardy.
If you own rental properties, flip houses or are involved in any other real estate strategies, you will likely face the frustration of dealing with a contractor who does poor work, consistently misses deadlines or otherwise costs you money. Ideally, you can address issues as they arise, and your contractor will adjust to meet your satisfaction. When this doesn’t happen, what options do you have in such situations?
What can I do when things go bad?
Poor quality work, unexpected additions to the budget, missed deadlines and unfinished work are all common problems you may encounter when you hire a contractor. It can be frustrating, and in the long run, it can cost you a great deal of money. Having safeguards in place, such as careful screening of contractors and clear expectations in your contract, can minimize the risk, but you can never completely avoid the chances of getting a bad contractor. When the problem becomes immediate, you have several options, including:
- Firing the contractor in compliance with the termination clause in your contract
- Filing a bond claim with your contractor’s insurance agent
- Posting a review of the contractor on a public, online forum, such as the Better Business Bureau or Google
- Contacting the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to file a complaint with the licensing board
- Seeking a financial judgement through small claims court if your losses are within the court’s allowable amount
- Taking the matter to mediation
- Suing the contractor for the damages you incurred
Before you can take any steps toward resolution, it will be important that you have a clear and consistent method of keeping and organizing all documentation related to every project you undertake. Contracts and invoices are more than agreements; they are potentially evidence if a disagreement should arise between you and a contractor. Protecting this evidence, including pictures of each phase of the project, relevant emails and other messages, and documentation of verbal communications, is almost always worth the effort.