When you hire a general contractor to build a home or for home repair or remodeling work, the general contractor becomes the middleman between you and any others who provide labor supplies for the project. In most cases homeowners pay their general contractors, who in turn pay their material suppliers and subcontractors. But there have been cases in which the homeowner paid the contractor in full, but the contractor failed to pay his subcontractors. The subcontractors then filed liens on the homeowner’s property, forcing the homeowner to pay for the work or labor a second time.
Your home may be your most valuable financial asset. That is why you should be cautious when you hire someone to work on it. Home improvement and repair and maintenance contractors often advertise in newspapers, the Yellow Pages, and on the radio and TV. However, do not consider an ad an indication of the quality of a contractor’s work. Your best bet is a reality check from those in the know: friends, neighbors, or co-workers who have had improvement work done. Get written estimates from several firms. Ask for explanations for price variations. Do not automatically choose the lowest bidder.
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself from liens is to ask for references from any contractor you are considering hiring for home building, improvements or repairs. Be sure to specify you want recent references. When you get the references, thoroughly check them out.
If you are a victim of home repair fraud, contact Consumer Fraud Online to discuss your options.