What Homeowners Need to Know about Protecting Themselves Against Unscrupulous Contractors, Part IV: Contract Disputes
Part IV of our four-part series on protecting yourself against unscrupulous contractors explores contract disputes. For more information about Virginia contract requirements, refer to Part I, Part II, and Part III of this series.
Part IV: Contract Disputes
There are a number of reasons people get into a contract dispute: the work may not have been done correctly (or at all), the terms of the contract were faulty, one party backed out of the contract…the list goes on.
According to Virginia law, the following acts are prohibited and considered a Class 1 misdemeanor:
- Contracting for, bidding on the construction, removal, repair or improvements to or upon real property owned, controlled or leased by another person without a license or certificate, or without the proper class license for the value of work to be performed.
- Attempting to practice contracting in the Commonwealth of Virginia, except as provided for by law.
- Presenting or attempting to use the license or certificate of another.
- Giving false or forged evidence of any kind to the Board or any member thereof in an application for the issuance or renewal of a license or certificate.
- Impersonating another or using an expired or revoked license or certificate.
- Receiving or considering as the awarding authority a bid from anyone whom the awarding authority knows is not properly licensed or certified under this chapter. The awarding authority shall require a bidder to submit his license or certificate number prior to considering a bid.
Law pertaining to the failure to perform also protects the consumer. As defined by Virginia law, it states:
If any person obtain from another an advance of money, merchandise or other thing, of value, with fraudulent intent, upon a promise to perform construction, removal, repair or improvement of any building or structure permanently annexed to real property, or any other improvements to such real property, including horticulture, nursery or forest products, and fail or refuse to perform such promise, and also fail to substantially make good such advance, he shall be deemed guilty of the larceny of such money, merchandise or other thing if he fails to return such advance within fifteen days of a request to do so sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to his last known address or to the address listed in the contract.
Nobody wants to have to go to court, but sometimes the sides cannot come together on an agreement and it becomes necessary. Here are some of your options for filing suit against your contractor:
- Small Claims Court: civil cases where the amount in question does not exceed $5,000.
- General District Court: misdemeanor criminal offenses and civil cases where the amount in question is over $4,500 but not over $15,000.
- Circuit Court: felony criminal offenses and civil cases where the amount in question exceeds $15,000. Circuit Courts may also hear civil cases
Need to Win Your Construction Dispute? Call Först Consulting Group
Contract or construction performance issues require proof for you to win your case, which we at Först Consulting Group can provide. We can review your contract, perform a physical inspection of the construction issue and produce a comprehensive report, and provide expert opinion and expert testimony if your case goes to court. Rely on us for expert advice or construction supervision as well to avoid problems in the first place.