What to Do If a Contractor Damages Your Property
Contractors have the second most customer complaints out of any industry in the US. When we hire contractors, we want them to get the job done quickly and to a high standard – but this isn’t always the case.
When things go wrong, it can be troubling. This is especially the case if the contractor isn’t willing to fix or pay for the repairs. But there are steps you can take to resolve the issues and seek compensation, where needed.
Keep reading to learn what to do if a contractor damages your property.
What to Do First If a Contractor Damages Your Property
If you have hired contractors to perform work on your property and discover some damage to your property, you must first collect evidence. If you wish to pursue compensation and resolve the problem down the line, you’ll need plenty of proof.
You must also consider whether the workers caused the damage. The damage could have already been there before your workers got started. Or, you, your family, or your pets could have caused the damage.
So, assess the damage and ask your family whether they noticed it before the workers arrived or whether they caused the damage. There are some instances where your contractors undeniably cause the damage. For example, a concrete boot print on your carpets.
If you have reason to believe that the workers have caused this damage to your home, you should gather all of your evidence and prepare to begin the complaints process.
How to Complain About Damage Caused By Contractors (Effectively)
When a contractor damages your property, it’s important to approach the situation reasonably and appropriately. Otherwise, the issues could become worse. Here’s how to complain about construction damage effectively.
1. Be Reasonable
Many customers approach their contractors with the wrong mindset when submitting a complaint. Your contractors are simply doing their job. If you made a mistake at work, would you expect to receive an abusive email from your boss?
Even though your home has been damaged, and you have every right to be angry or upset, it’s important not to let your emotions get in the way of dealing with the matter. So, when you begin communications with your contractor, you should take a solution-focused approach.
Your contractor will be less inclined to resolve the issue quickly if you take an adversarial stance. Instead, write an email (ensure all your communications are in writing), tell your contractor precisely what the problem is, and express your concern politely. Then, lay out your expectations when it comes to resolving the issue.
2. Think About What You Want
If you’re going to complain about the damage, you want something to be done about it. So, think about what you would like your contractor to do about the damage. Some options to consider include:
- Funding the cost of repairs – Your contractor could give you a discount on the service to help you finance the repairs. Or, if you have paid upfront, they can refund you for the cost of the damage.
- Fixing the damage – If there is damage to your property that the contractor has the tools to repair, you should ask them to resolve the issue. Having your contractor fix the problem will be simpler than hiring someone else.
- Funding a replacement item – If there is damage to your furniture or upholstery, you should ask your contractor to fund the replacement of the item.
You should go into communication with your contractor with a resolution in mind. That way, you can both align on a clear goal.
What If My Contractor Refuses to Resolve the Issue?
If your contractor is stubborn and will not resolve the issue, it’s time to bring out your leverage or contact a third party to help resolve the matter. Let’s discuss some of your options when your contractor won’t comply.
1. Withhold Payment
As the customer, you have a powerful negotiating tool – withholding payment. If your contractor does not resolve the issue, it could be wise to withhold payment until it is fixed.
State clearly that you will not pay for the services until you have arranged to repair damages. This may cause friction with your contractor, but it should motivate them to fix the problem.
2. Leverage Reviews
Good reviews are essential for contractors. Contractors need to maintain a good reputation, especially with so many untrustworthy contractors out there. Therefore, you can tell them the experience has not been positive and will be only positive should the issue be resolved.
It’s important not to threaten the contractor, as this can make them defensive and unlikely to help. Instead, it’s best to focus on solutions and how them fixing the issues will ensure the experience is a positive one for you.
3. Log Your Complaint To A Higher Authority
If you’re communicating with a contractor employee, you may wish to log your complaint with a manager or leader within the business. Just remember that if the person manages their own company, this cannot be done, as there is likely no higher authority.
4. Take the Matter to Small Claims Court
If you are not seeing any progress in the dispute, it might be time to file a claim in the small claims court. You shouldn’t worry about the cost of legal fees when pursuing the matter in court, as you can easily represent yourself with the help of a small claims assistant. Simply present all the evidence regarding the case to a judge, and they will make a ruling.
5. Be Prepared To Be Wrong
If your contractor refuses to resolve the issue or claims that they didn’t cause the damage, you must be prepared to be wrong. If you weren’t there when someone inflicted the damage, anything could have caused it. Therefore, you should go into the complaint or confrontation process with an open mind.
It can be pretty unpleasant to enter into a dispute with your contractor. Therefore, it’s important to approach the manner calmly and respectfully. If things get heated, this could cause you more distress. Take a goal-oriented approach to the matter, and take all the necessary steps to resolve the damage.
As a customer, you have the right to complain about poor service, especially when your contractor leaves your house in a worse condition than when they found it.
Do you need to sell a property in disrepair? At Brotherly Love Real Estate, we buy houses fast for cash. You can sell a house as is to our expert team, even if it’s in bad condition, cluttered, or has code violations. If your property has been damaged by workers and you want to sell it quickly, contact our team to get your cash offer.