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Licensing authorities might offer assistance with disputes

If you've hired a contractor and run into a disagreement along the way to a finished product in your home or business, you have a number of legal ways to deal with the issue. The first, and sometimes fastest, way to resolve a construction or contracting dispute is to simply hash it out with the contractor. Sometimes, a dispute is just a misunderstanding, and talking about it now can keep it from blowing up in the future. If the contractor is balking at a discussion, getting a third-party professional, such as an attorney, involved in a mediation process might help, too.

In some cases, you or your attorney can seek assistance from a licensing authority. Licensing authorities have a lot of sway over contractors, since many times, the contractor is not legally allowed to do business without a current license. While suspension of a licenses is usually reserved for severe cases where a contractor has repeatedly failed to address an issue, licensing authorities can act in other ways.

If a contractor is reported to the licensing authority for certain types of issues, they might be fined or required to refund money to the property owner. Sometimes, simply telling the contractor you will make a report if issues aren't resolved by a certain time can lead to a resolution in your favor.

Contractors might also face the loss of a professional membership if they are in trouble with a licensing organization. Such memberships can be valuable in a contractor's business, so he or she might want to protect them.

Simply issuing idle threats or running to a licensing authority about every little detail doesn't create much positive change. Working with an attorney experienced in contractor and contract law can be a way to identify the best course of action when faced with a dispute that is not resolved.

Source: HouseLogic, "Tips for Resolving a Contractor Dispute," Gwen Moran, accessed Oct. 09, 2015

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