Monday, December 31, 2007

Top Ten Clauses to Have in Your Contract-The Contractor

As a post for starting off the new year, I have been thinking about the most important clauses to have in home contractor contracts. So, in an attempt to add to the top ten lists that are generated at this time of year, here is my list for contractors:

1. ALL CHANGE ORDERS MUST BE IN WRITING AND INITIALED BY BOTH THE HOMEOWNER AND THE CONTRACTOR! Should I say it again?

2. The contract should clearly spell out the price for the job along with a clear cut payment schedule.

3. The contractor should list reasonable start dates and end dates for the project with exceptions for delays caused by unforseen circumstances or homeowner delay.

4. The contractor should include a provision that will allow him or her to collect attorney's fees if he has to pursue payment from the homeowner.

5. There should be a complete description of the scope of the work and the materials to be used.

6. The contractor should ask the homeowner to designate who the decision makers are and make that person's cell phone number and/or e-mail address available to the contractor.

7. The contractor should include a clause about what constitutes breach of the contract and what the remedy will be if the homeowner breaches.

8. Warranties should be clearly spelled out and include the items that are not covered as well as covered items.

9. The contractor should decide whether he wants to include a mediation and/or arbitration clause in the contract.

10. And finally, the contract should include a detailed description of what constitutes punch list items and how to determine when the punch list is complete in order for final payment to be made.

I am sure there are more, but these are what come to mind for how contractors can best protect themselves. Tomorrow I will list my top ten from the homeowner's side.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Contractor Found Guilty of Criminal Charges-From the Metrowest News

Contractor sentenced to 3-5 years in prison By Norman Miller/Daily News staff GHS Wed Dec 19, 2007, 11:44 PM EST

CAMBRIDGE - A Leominster contractor accused of bilking customers in Natick, Marlborough and Arlington out of thousands of dollars in unfinished work was sentenced to state prison yesterday.
Michael J. Corda, 50, was sentenced to three to five years in prison and to pay a yet-to-be-determined amount of restitution to the homeowners.
Corda, who owned Northeast Building and Design, was found guilty by a jury of seven counts of larceny of more than $250 and 16 counts of 142A violations, which is the law that prohibits certain acts by home contractors.
"When homeowners enter into an agreement with a contractor, they deserve to be dealt with honestly and to get the services that they paid for," District Attorney Gerry Leone said. "This contractor violated the trust of these homeowners and took thousands of dollars from them for work that he had no intention of performing."
Corda was indicted by a Middlesex grand jury on Sept. 26, 2006. Authorities said he agreed to five contracts in Natick and one each in Marlborough and Arlington.
Assistant District Attorney Elisha Willis said during Corda's trial he never intended to fulfill the services he promised in the contracts. She said Corda knew he did not have the resources to complete the jobs, and did not complete any of the services.
All of the incidents took place between November 2003 and August 2005. Along with the prison term and the restitution, Corda will be on probation for seven years after he gets out of prison. He will also be banned from working as a home contracting project manager in Massachusetts.
(Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or at nmiller@cnc.com.)