Westminster 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 Westminster, 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, the owners of land and contractors can end disagreements before they get too serious, thus eliminating the need for litigation. Most contracts governing construction projects have built-in remedies for the most common problems, normally requiring the party that causes a delay or other problem to pay the other party a set fee.
And even if disputes can't be resolved so easily, the courts still don't necessarily have to get immersed. For example, a construction contract may require mediation before any further action is taken. Mediation is a process by which a third party tries to guide the parties to the dispute to a settlement. The mediator cannot, however, render any binding decision. Another avenue is arbitration. This is where the parties go to a private arbitration service, which can render a binding judgment (typically enforceable through contract law, as the parties agree in advance to abide by the arbitrator's decision). Arbitration has benefits over litigation, as the parties can have a say in choosing the arbitrator (allowing them to have their case arbitrated by an expert on construction disputes, for example).
Because of the large cost in time and money involved, litigation in Westminster, California is regarded a last resort. However, in rare cases, it does become necessary.
Examples of Construction Disputes That Might Lead to Litigation in Westminster, 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.
Refusal to Pay: Disagreements can also arise from a client's refusal or inability to hold up his end of the deal. Sometimes, once a project is complete, or nearly so, a landowner will express an unwillingness to pay the contractor for his services. There might be a variety of reasons for this - sudden loss of money, or dissatisfaction with the quality of the work are a few examples. It's rare that a client will refuse to pay a contractor simply because they don't feel like it (and if that is the reason, they'll normally come up with a better one to argue in court). In these cases, a court will occasionally have to decide if the client is obligated to pay the full price. If the work was, indeed, not up to the standards laid out in the contract, the contractor is not entitled to the full price, but is still entitled to the actual value of the work, even if it's substantially less than the contract price.
Subcontractors: With big construction projects, contractors normally hire other, smaller contractors to do some of the work for them. This is normally work of a specialized nature, which the general contractor isn't equipped to handle (such as plumbing or electrical wiring). The general contractor is the one who is responsible for the satisfactory completion of the project. If a subcontractor makes a mistake, or causes a delay, the general contractor is ultimately liable to the person who hired them. Nonetheless, if they are sued for the mistakes of a subcontractor, and lose, they can then sue the subcontractor to recover their losses.
Mechanic's Liens: Sometimes, when a contractor wins in a case against the landowner who hired him or her, and obtains a court order for payment, the contractor will still refuse to pay. Since a money judgment isn't worth much without a way to enforce it, the laws of many states have evolved to authorize what's known as a "mechanic's lien." As a last resort, if a landowner refuses to pay the contractor for work done on the property, the contractor can force a sale of the property, and keep the proceeds, up to the amount of money owed.
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Can a Westminster, California Attorney Help?
Construction disputes and disagreements can be very hard to deal with alone. The assistance of a Westminster, California real estate attorney can make the process of dealing with these disputes much quicker and easier.
91 Real Estate, Housing & Property Law cases posted to LegalMatch lawyers in Westminster
Construction Dispute Attorneys in the Largest CA Cities
Life in WestminsterWestminster is located in Orange County in the state of California. It has a population of nearly 90,000 and was named after the Westminster Assembly of 1643. Originally, the city was named "Tri-City" because it was formed of three cities, Westminster, Midway City, and Barber City. Currently, Westminster California is an important hub for residence, employment, shopping, and arts/recreation.
The city of Westminster presents many opportunities for employment and business. Top employers in Westminster include Westminster School District, Southern California Edison, and Ito Farms. Many businesses are concentrated in Westminster's Bolsa area. The Westminster Mall is also a major source of revenue and retail for the city, as it contains over 180 different stores. For convenience, Westminster City Hall operates a separate branch called City Hall at the Mall.
Another site of interest in Westminster, California is the Westminster Rose Center. The Rose Center is a large, artistically designed building consisting of a banquet hall, a theater, and is often used for civic and cultural events. Westminster is also known for its beautiful outdoor parks, especially Liberty Park, which contains a well-frequented skate park.
Westminster lawyers provide many kinds of legal services for those needing advice or representation in court. Lawyers in Westminster, California often handle legal claims through the West Justice Center branch of the Superior Court of California, Orange County. The Justice Center is located in Westminster on 13th Street.