Stockton, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for California

Q: What can I do about a contractor's unsatisfactory repair work?

My house was caught on fire back in February 2022. During the time we were displaced and were renting a home paid for by my home insurance, our contractor stated that they hadn't begun work yet pending permit approval etc. In April 2023 when my insurance displacement funding ran out, that's when Belfor started working on the house for us to move back in (within 2 weeks). I had to move back into my property without the city occupancy approval and lived on one side of the house while they repaired. I felt like the work was rushed with the structural repairs, flooring, and plumbing, and only one toilet up and running, no shower. I want to confirm that the work done on my house is done properly and that there are no issues behind walls and floors that I cannot see. there are still unresolved issues with the dissatisfaction of their repair work such as electrical, flooring etc. I need to address these concerns under warranty.

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, you have several options to address unsatisfactory repair work by a contractor:

1. Contact the contractor: First, try to resolve the issue directly with the contractor. Provide a detailed list of the problems and request that they fix the issues under warranty. Keep records of all communication.

2. File a complaint with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB): If the contractor is unresponsive or refuses to address the issues, file a complaint with the CSLB. They can investigate the complaint and may take disciplinary action against the contractor if warranted.

3. Hire an independent inspector: Consider hiring an independent home inspector or specialist (e.g., electrician, plumber) to assess the quality of the work and identify any hidden issues. This can provide evidence to support your claims.

4. Mediation or arbitration: If the contractor is willing, you can try to resolve the dispute through mediation or arbitration, which are often faster and less expensive than going to court.

5. Legal action: If the above options don't resolve the issue, you may need to consult with a lawyer specializing in construction law. They can advise you on your legal rights and help you file a lawsuit against the contractor if necessary.

6. Contact your insurance company: Since the repairs were related to a fire and likely covered by your homeowner's insurance, inform your insurance company about the unsatisfactory work. They may be able to assist you in resolving the issue or provide guidance on next steps.

Document all issues with photos, videos, and written descriptions to support your case. Keep records of all correspondence and any expenses incurred due to the unsatisfactory work.

Delaram Keshvarian
Delaram Keshvarian
  • Orange, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Thank you for your question!

You can bring a breach of contract, implied warranty, express warranty, or tort damages (e.g., negligent, emotional distress).

The house may need to be examined by an expert to testify about the damages.

Different factors may be involved such as: how the results detour from the words of contact and extent of damages, length of time, etc.

This is merely a discussion of general laws and not legal advice. For legal advice, more specific facts and investigations are needed. I recommend you consult with an attorney for more details.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.