Home Improvement Warranty – Minnesota

The good news is that the economy seems to be ticking along and new home construction and remodeling jobs seem to be increasing.  But, what do you do when the work you paid for is defective?  Here in Minnesota, there are statutory warranties for newly constructed homes and remodeling work  (Minnesota Statutes Chapter 327A).  You must, however, give the contractor the ability to come and inspect the work and an opportunity to correct the defect before proceeding with a lawsuit.  When you think about it, that is only fair to the contractor.   You need to follow the obligations set forth in the statute to preserve your warranty claim.  Similarly, a contractor needs to be responsive to a homeowner’s notice or face legal action.  Don’t let your frustration and anger, and that comment goes to both the contractor and homeowner, get in the way of following the law as to warranty claims.  If in doubt, call us.  We have represented both homeowners and contractors in these types of claims.

Mechanic’s Lien

In Minnesota, workman and material suppliers may have the right to file a lien against your home if you do not pay them for work.  The right is governed by statute with a number of steps that need to be followed to make sure the lien is valid.  We have represented both contractors who have not been paid for work and property owners who may be subject to lien claims so are very familiar with the ins and outs of these types of claims.  The take away today is that a lien claimant must serve and record their lien within 120 days after their last date of work and begin to foreclose their lien within 1 year of their last date of work.  Every situation is unique, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions about mechanic’s liens.

Hiring a residential contractor

Minnesota law requires that a person, which can mean an individual or company, in the business of building residential real estate inclusive of remodeling, must be licensed if their services entail the provision of “two or more special skills” as defined within the statute.  These special skills include excavation, masonry, carpentry, interior finishing, exterior finishing, drywall, roofing, etc.   If you are contemplating hiring someone to work on your home and it entails two or more “special skills”, inquire as to their residential contractor’s license number.  This number should be on the contracts they provide you and all written materials from a contractor.  If you do not see a license number or they hesitate to give you one, be cautious and do further investigation into the contractor and contact the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to verify the status of their license.  You will lose the right to proceed against the Contractor’s Recovery Fund if you have unlicensed persons do work at your home that required a license.

Residential Construction Warranty

In Minnesota, if you had work done by a residential contractor and now are unhappy with their work because of some defect, you need to follow the process detailed at Minnesota Statute Chapter 327A.  In general, this means you need to give your contractor the opportunity to inspect and allow them the opportunity to repair.  The statute also provides for a dispute resolution procedure.  Oftentimes homeowners are frustrated when projects go bad, or do not meet their expectations and vow never to let “that contractor” back onto their property.  Be cautious of this reaction as it may get in the way of your ability in the future to recover damages against “that contractor”.   Call us if you have contractor problems, we can help.

Residential Construction Contract

In Minnesota, if you are working with a licensed construction contractor they are required by statute to have all proposals, estimates, bids, quotes, contracts, purchase orders and change orders in writing. (Minnesota Statutes Section 326B.809)  Sometimes we all get lackadaisical about how we transact business,  but misunderstandings as to the scope of work and the cost of the work just bring headaches if things go bad.  Don’t let that happen to you, get it in writing.   Note, this provision applies to licensed residential contractors.  In another post, I will discuss “who” those folks include.