What Do I Do If My Contractor Walks Off The Job?
What Legal Recourse Do I Have If My Contractor Walks Off The Job Under Illinois Law?
Hiring a contractor to transform your vision into reality is commonplace in the world of real estate and home renovations. However, the unexpected can sometimes unfold—a contractor walking off a job, leaving homeowners dismayed. In such difficult circumstances, understanding your legal rights and the actions necessary to protect those legal rights is very important. In the state of Illinois, there are specific laws that offer protection to homeowners when a contractor unexpectedly abandons a project.
The foundational aspect of your legal relationship with any contractor is the initial contract or agreement both parties have signed. In Illinois, a written contract is a binding agreement that determines the roles, responsibilities, and remedies should things go wrong. These contracts should have built-in clauses that address abandonment or non-completion, providing homeowners a clear pathway to claim damages or enforce completion.
Illinois Mechanic’s Lien Act
The Illinois Mechanic’s Lien Act, under 770 ILCS 60, plays a pivotal role in contractor-related disputes. This act, designed initially to ensure contractors and subcontractors are paid for their services, can also serve to protect homeowners. If a contractor abandons a project, homeowners can utilize this act, ensuring that no liens are unjustly placed on their property due to unpaid subcontractors or suppliers, a scenario that can arise when the primary contractor neglects their responsibilities.
Breach Of Contract
If a contractor’s walk-off can be determined as a breach of the initial agreement, then under Illinois law, the homeowner can claim a breach of contract. This claim allows homeowners to recoup financial losses, including funds paid without receiving services or additional costs incurred to bring in another contractor to complete the project. Each case is different; therefore, it is important that you speak with one of our attorneys about the compensation you might receive in a breach of contract dispute.
Beyond contracts and liens, the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act of Illinois offers another layer of protection. This act targets businesses that indulge in deceptive practices, and a contractor abandoning a job without justification might fall under its purview. Under this act, homeowners could not only seek the return of their financial losses but might also be entitled to additional damages if they can demonstrate that the contractor’s behavior was deceptive or fraudulent.
File A Complaint With The State
Another line of defense for homeowners is the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. If your contractor is licensed, they’re bound by the regulations and standards this department sets. Filing a complaint here can result in disciplinary actions against the contractor, ensuring they’re held accountable for their professional mistakes.
Illinois homeowners might consider the small claims court when the monetary dispute doesn’t reach astronomical figures. This court offers a quicker resolution pathway for claims that don’t exceed a specific monetary threshold. Even though it’s less formal, it’s still a way you can pursue legal recourse.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
At times, going to court may seem too overwhelming or lengthy an option. In those situations, other solutions like mediation or arbitration, known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR), can be a relief. While mediation relies on mutual agreement, arbitration is more formal, and its decisions can be binding. Yet, both provide a faster and more straightforward way to resolve issues compared to the usual court proceedings.
As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Homeowners, to safeguard their interests, should be meticulous while hiring. This includes vetting potential contractors, checking their past records, seeking recommendations, and ensuring that the written contract is comprehensive. Establishing a staggered payment schedule can also minimize risks associated with job abandonment.
While a contractor walking off a job in Illinois can be an unnerving experience, homeowners are far from powerless. The state’s legal framework offers multiple avenues to seek redress. However, it’s always prudent to consult with a legal expert in such situations, ensuring that your interests are robustly protected and advocated for.
Call Our Construction Litigation Lawyers
If you’re grappling with the frustration of a contractor who’s abandoned your project, call Keller Law Group for exceptional legal assistance. We are here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your rights are protected and you get the resolution you deserve. For legal advice tailored to your situation, contact our construction litigation lawyers at 630-868-3093. Your peace of mind is just one call away. We serve clients in DuPage, Kane, and Will Counties.