Avoiding Issues With Contractors

I recently read a news article about a woman who paid a $400 cash deposit to a handyman for some work to be done on her house. The handyman took the money but never did any work. She had no written contract with him and no way to make him pay, except to try to get a news station to pick up the story to shame the handyman into paying. He still didn’t pay her.
A better way to do business with a handyman or contractor is to have a written contract setting out the terms of the deal, including, but not limited to, the cost of the job, a payment schedule, the services being performed, and the deadline for when the job will be complete. And, never pay in cash or in full for the job before it is complete.
Another precaution is to make sure that the contractor is licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (“ROC”). The estimate or contract that is provided to you from the contractor should have the contractor’s ROC license number on it. You can also search for the contractor’s name through the ROC website: https://roc.az.gov/contractor-search. The ROC website will list whether the contractor’s license is active and if that contractor has a history of discipline with the ROC.
There are limited exceptions for allowing work to be done by an unlicensed person in A.R.S. §32-1121, such as for installing finished products for a contract price that does not exceed $1,000 or owners performing the work themselves on a property intended for occupancy solely by the owner. But, even in these cases, you will be better protected by using a licensed contractor.
If you contract with a licensed contractor and the contractor does not finish the job or does not do a good job, then you can file a complaint with the ROC. The ROC will inspect the job and require the contractor to fix items that do not meet minimum construction standards.
As a last resort, you can file a lawsuit against the contractor, and if you have done all of the above, you will have a greater chance at success in litigation.

After all, at Hymson Goldstein Pantiliat and Lohr, Our Business Is Your Peace of Mind®.

Written by Attorney Lori Brown.

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