Even when a bad contractor performs shoddy work or is dishonest, they will frequently expect the homeowner to pay. The contractor might even file a lien against the home in an attempt to secure payment.
If a home improvement contractor sues you for nonpayment, the most important thing is to make sure that you meet the court deadline to respond. You must also appear in court, or have a lawyer appear on your behalf, for any scheduled hearings. If you do not, then you risk having a default judgment entered against you. A default judgment means the court rules in favor of the contractor and the case is resolved without hearing your side because you did not respond to defend against the contractor’s claims. The contractor will then be able to collect the money it said you owe. This can happen very quickly, so do not take it lightly if a home improvement contractor sues you.
Even though it was the contractor who filed the lawsuit, the lawsuit does not have to be one-sided. You are also able to counterclaim, or sue the contractor, for anything the contractor did wrong, such as not following the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Law.
Prepare by compiling your documents and records. Find your copy of the home improvement contract, all invoices, and proof of payments. Locate any correspondence between you and the contractor, subcontractors, or anyone else who performed work on the home. Save all emails, text messages, and voicemails. Save all before-and-after photos you may have taken. These items may be important in defending against the contractor’s lawsuit and for proving any claims you may have against the contractor.
Homeowners often have good reasons to be unhappy with a home improvement contractor’s work. The work might be poor quality or different than what was expected. Particularly bad contractors might even damage the home or perform work that does not meet building code. Sometimes homeowners have made payments and truly believe they don’t owe any more money. It’s not uncommon for a bad contractor to incorrectly apply payments. Other times, contractors are particularly dishonest and will demand payments in excess of the actual amount the homeowner agreed to pay. These are just a few of the reasons why there may be a disagreement between a homeowner and contractor about payment and whether money is owed.
Walckner Law Office provides a no-cost initial consultation. Discuss your home improvement contractor claim with a lawyer today.
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