Consumer protection law in all states puts builders — especially residential builders — at a disadvantage when trying to enforce their construction contracts. Law in nearly every state penalizes contractors — not property owners — if the contract omits any required notice or disclosure. Penalties for using a defective contract can be major: fines up to $1,000, suspension, loss of lien rights, and even jail time. Every state has the right to set their own requirements and penalties for construction contracts. And all have.
Even if your defective contract doesn't draw attention from state or local authorities, savvy owners (and their legal counsel) will be quick to focus on any little flaw in your agreement. Both state and federal law backs up property owners who have a grievance and don't want to pay a contractor. In many states, using a defective contract is considered a "deceptive act or practice", entitling the owner to collect both damages and legal fees from the contractor — even if the owner doesn't have a single valid complaint about the work itself.
If you've been doing any type of residential work on a two-page "legal in all 50 states" contract, you can take this to the bank: It's illegal and unenforceable in your state — an accident waiting to happen. You're in line to learn an expensive lesson. Even boilerplate contracts offered by the major construction industry associations (AIA, AGC, EJCDC) are illegal for residential work in nearly all states. Don't be fooled. The only legal, enforceable contract on your jobs is one that complies with the law in your state for the type of work you handle.
This is a problem you don't need. Leave parsing of statutes and court decisions to the legal and technical staff at Craftsman. We keep your contracts in compliance with the law in your state so you can focus on what you do best — meeting the needs of property owners who plan to build.
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– Chuck P.
– Ed S., Admiral Construction Inc.
– E. Lawson