Huntington Beach Construction Dispute Lawyers
Construction Dispute Law in California
When a property owner and a general contractor contract for a construction project to take place on some property in Huntington Beach, California, whether it's a house, some landscaping, or a remodeling project, there is always a risk that something can go wrong. In fact, at least a very minor setback may be more likely than not.
Most often, landowners and construction contractors are able to resolve minor to moderate disagreements between themselves, and litigation is rarely necessary. Nobody likes litigation, so, to this end, most construction contracts have built-in remedies in case something goes wrong, like set price reductions if construction is delayed.
Even if disagreements can't be resolved amongst the parties to the contract, they don't need to take their dispute into the court system. For instance, construction contracts normally call for mediation or arbitration before any disputes are resolved by the courts. Mediation is a process by which a third party serves as a sort of intermediary in settlement negotiations between the parties to the contract. The mediator can help keep negotiations on track, and suggest possible solutions the parties might not have thought of. The mediator can't issue a binding decision, however. Arbitration is a procedure through which the parties agree to have their dispute resolved by a third party, which can render a binding decision. Arbitration can be quicker and cheaper than litigation, and it has some other advantages, as well.
Litigating a construction dispute in Huntington Beach, California is definitely not something that anybody likes doing. Nonetheless, it is sometimes necessary, as a last resort.
Examples of Construction Disputes That Might Lead to Litigation in Huntington Beach, California
Delays: If the contractor is culpable in a major delay in a construction project (a delay of weeks or months, for example), a lawsuit could result. If the contract particularly states that completion by a particular date is very important, or the builder has a good reason to know this, a court will often award the owner compensation for any economic harm caused by a delay.
Owner's refusal to pay: Contractors can also be the victims in construction disagreements. Sometimes, the person who hired them will refuse to pay the agreed-upon fee, or withhold a portion of it. This, without more, certainly constitutes breach of contract. However, in such cases, the owner will rarely go to court and say "I just didn't feel like paying, so I didn't." Rather, they will claim that they had a very good reason to withhold all or part of the payment, such as unsatisfactory work by the contractor. In these situations, the court has to determine if the owner has a valid reason for not paying. If it concludes that he or she does not, it will order the owner to pay the agreed-upon price.
Subcontractor Disputes: When a construction company is contracted to complete a large project, there is normally a great deal of specialized work to be done which they aren't equipped to handle. As a result, they hire other contractors, who, in this arrangement, are subcontractors, to do some of the work. Nonetheless, the general contractor (the one that the landowner hired to do the work) is still accountable for the completion of the project - if a subcontractor causes a problem, the general contractor is on the hook for it. This sometimes leads to landowners suing general contractors for the mistakes of subcontractors. If the general contractor loses, and has to pay the client, the general contractor can then sue the subcontractor for whatever amount of money it had to pay.
Mechanic's Liens: If the contractor sues a land owner and wins, he will likely obtain a monetary judgment. If the owner declines to pay, the contractor needs some way to recover. This is where the mechanic's lien comes into play. It authorizes a contractor to force the sale of the land or other real property that he just worked on, and use those proceeds to cover costs.
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Can a Huntington Beach, California Attorney Help?
Disputes over construction delays or defects can be extremely taxing. Therefore, getting an accomplished Huntington Beach, California real estate attorney might mean the difference between success or failure in your business ventures.
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Life in Huntington Beach
Sun, check. Surf, check. Shopping, check. Huntington Beach, California is the quintessential southern California beach town. Known for its 8.5 miles of sandy beaches, Huntington Beach is appropriately nicknamed "Surf City."
With a population just under 200,000 residents, Huntington Beach is both a popular place to live and a popular place to visit. Because of its laid-back beach lifestyle, it is also a popular place for many companies such as Quicksilver, Boeing, and Verizon. There are also many lawyers in Huntington Beach ready to serve the legal needs of their clients. Huntington Beach lawyers are some of the best at what they do. And no, Huntington Beach lawyers do not wear wetsuits to work.
Huntington Beach tourism is almost exclusively devoted to its beachy atmosphere, hosting events such as the U.S. Surfing Open, AVP tournaments, and triathalons. Huntington Beach also has many artistic events to offer visitors. The Bolsa Chica Wetlands, an ecological reserve known for its trails and scenic stops is also a hallmark of Huntington Beach.
So whether it is great weather, great lawyers, or a great wave, Huntington Beach has it all and more.