Q: Is it okay to write a contract even after work has begun?
A: The short answer is yes, but there may be significant consequences caused by the fact that one party started the work before a written contract was in place. For example, under Maine law, "[a]ny home construction contract for more than $3,000 in materials or labor must be in writing and must be signed by both the home construction contractor and the homeowner or lessee. Both the contractor and the homeowner or lessee must receive a copy of the executed contract prior to any work performance." 10 M.R.S. § 1487. Violation of this statute requiring a home repair written contract can also be a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act (5 M.R.S. §§ 207, 213) and can result in the homeowner being awarded his or her attorney’s fees if a dispute with the contractor goes to court. 10 M.R.S. § 1490.
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