Making a Claim Against a Contractor (A.R.S. § 32-1101 et seq.)
What happens when the contractor you hired to work on your Arizona home does a poor job, or doesn’t finish the job at all? This article will help you know your rights and decide the best path forward when you’ve having trouble with a contractor.
While homeowners expect quality work for the money paid to a construction company (commonly known as “contractors”), even the most masterful tradesperson can fail to deliver on work promised. When this happens, the homeowner must take steps to protect themselves and be made whole.
In Arizona, a homeowner can use the court system to resolve a dispute with a contractor. However, in many instances, a homeowner can also use the Arizona Registrar of Contractors to hold a contractor accountable.
Making a Claim with The Registrar of Contractors
The Registrar of Contractors (also known as “the ROC”) is a state agency that regulates contractors, and can also investigate and facilitate resolution of disputes between homeowners and contractors. The ROC has several functions:
Licensing and Bonding: Unless they exclusively handle small jobs as a handyman, contractors operating in Arizona must be licensed by the ROC. To become licensed, they must pass a background check and a series of competency tests. If the individual passes, they normally form an LLC or other legal entity which will operating under the ROC licensee. They are also required to purchase a surety bond, which is similar to insurance and can be used to compensate a homeowner if the contractor fails to meet their obligation to the homeowner. Bonds for residential contractors typically range from $4,500.00 to $15,000.00. If your claim against a contractor exceeds their bond amount, you may need to consider other options.
Inspections: The ROC also provides inspectors who can investigate disputes between homeowners and contractors. If you have issues with your contractor’s work, you can file a complaint with the ROC and they will send an inspector to determine whether the contractor’s work fails to meet industry standards. If the inspector finds problems, they will give the contractor an opportunity to make things right. If the contractor fails to make things right within a set amount of time, the ROC will allow you to make a claim against the contractor’s bond.
Recovery Fund: The ROC also oversees a special recovery fund that can provide additional coverage to homeowners or renters. The recovery fund can pay up to $30,000.00. The 928 Law Firm can help you determine whether you may be qualified to receive money from the ROC’s recovery fund.
Using the Court System
While the ROC may be able to provide some money to offset a contractor’s poor work as described above, a homeowner’s losses often far exceed the maximum payout available through the ROC’s recovery fund. If this is the case, or if you are working with an unlicensed contractor, your best chance at recovering money may be through the court system.
The 928 Law Firm is experienced with recovering homeowners’ losses from contractors. We can assess the strength of your case and your likelihood of recovering your money or having the work completed to your satisfaction. If you want to pursue a claim against a contractor – whether through the ROC, the court, or both – you’ll need to start by gathering documentation of your claim. You will want a copy of the title to the property; a copy of the contract governing the contractor’s work for you; your payment history; and any written communications between you and the contractor. Once you’ve gathered your evidence, you’re ready to call The 928 Law Firm to speak with one of our lawyers about getting you paid, and maybe even getting the contractor to cover your attorney’s fees.