June 2024 - Wyman Legal Solutions

Essential Permit Tips

Permits are a crucial part of any home renovation project. Here’s why they’re important and what you need to know:

  1. Legal Requirement:
    Permits ensure that your renovation complies with local building codes and regulations. Failing to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines and legal issues.
  2. Safety:
    Building codes are designed to ensure the safety and integrity of your home. Permits require inspections that verify work is done correctly and safely.
  3. Property Value:
    Unpermitted work can affect your home’s resale value. Future buyers may be wary of purchasing a home with unverified renovations.
  4. Insurance Coverage:
    Insurance companies may deny claims for damages resulting from unpermitted work. Obtaining permits helps protect your investment.
  5. Avoiding Costly Redo:
    If unpermitted work is discovered, you may be required to redo the work to meet code, which can be costly and time-consuming.

If you’re unsure about the permitting process or need assistance, Wyman Legal Solutions can guide you through it.

Do you have a $50,000 or greater problem? Call us at (561) 361-8700 for expert advice.

The Hidden Pitfalls in Construction Contracts: What You Need to Know

When it comes to construction projects, a well-drafted contract is your best defense against potential issues. However, beyond the key clauses, there are several hidden pitfalls that homeowners and contractors should be aware of. Understanding these nuances can make a significant difference in ensuring a smooth and successful project. Here are some of the lesser-known but equally important aspects of construction contracts:

1. Warranty Provisions

While most people focus on the scope of work and payment terms, warranty provisions are often overlooked. These clauses define the contractor’s responsibility for correcting defects and the duration of the warranty. Ensure that your contract includes a comprehensive warranty clause that covers both materials and workmanship.

2. Insurance Requirements

Construction projects come with inherent risks, and it’s crucial to ensure that all parties are adequately insured. Your contract should specify the types and amounts of insurance coverage required, such as general liability, workers’ compensation, and builder’s risk insurance. Verify that your contractor carries the necessary insurance to protect against potential claims.

3. Termination Clause

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes projects need to be terminated before completion. A well-defined termination clause outlines the conditions under which either party can end the contract. This includes the procedures for termination, any penalties, and the settlement of payments for work completed up to that point.

4. Indemnification Clauses

Indemnification clauses are designed to protect one party from legal liability arising from the actions of the other party. In construction contracts, this often means that the contractor agrees to indemnify the homeowner for any damages or losses caused by the contractor’s negligence. Make sure this clause is fair and balanced to protect your interests.

5. Retainage Terms

Retainage is a portion of the contract payment withheld until the project is substantially complete to ensure that the contractor finishes the work properly. Your contract should clearly state the retainage amount and the conditions for its release. This serves as an incentive for the contractor to address any punch list items and complete the project satisfactorily.

6. Force Majeure

Force majeure clauses cover unforeseen events beyond the control of either party, such as natural disasters, strikes, or pandemics, which could delay or prevent the completion of the project. This clause should detail what constitutes a force majeure event and the steps to be taken if one occurs, including potential extensions of the project timeline.

7. Permits and Licensing

Ensure that your contract specifies who is responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and licenses for the project. This not only includes building permits but also any specific licenses required for electrical, plumbing, or other specialized work. Failure to obtain the proper permits can result in fines, delays, and legal complications.

By paying attention to these often-overlooked aspects of construction contracts, you can better protect yourself and your investment. Contracts are complex legal documents, and it’s wise to consult with a legal professional to review and negotiate the terms to your advantage.

Need Expert Help?

If you have a $50,000 or greater problem, call Wyman Legal Solutions at (561) 361-8700 for expert advice on navigating your construction contract and ensuring your project is set up for success.

Understanding Your Construction Contract

When embarking on a home renovation or construction project, your contract is your most important tool for ensuring everything goes smoothly. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the key clauses you should look for in your construction contract to protect your interests and ensure a successful project. Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, understanding these clauses can make a significant difference in the outcome of your project.

  1. Scope of Work: The scope of work clause is fundamental in any construction contract. It clearly defines the work to be performed, including detailed descriptions of tasks, materials, and any exclusions. This clause ensures that both parties have a mutual understanding of the project’s scope, preventing any misunderstandings or disputes down the line. Ensure that the scope of work is detailed and specific to avoid any ambiguity.
  2. Payment Schedule: A well-defined payment schedule is crucial for managing cash flow and ensuring that payments are made at appropriate stages of the project. The payment schedule should outline the terms of payment, including the amount and timing of payments. It’s advisable to avoid large upfront payments and instead tie payments to project milestones. This approach ensures that payments are made as work progresses and milestones are achieved.
  3. Timeline: The timeline clause specifies the start and completion dates of the project, as well as deadlines for each phase of the project. This clause is essential for keeping the project on track and ensuring that both parties adhere to the agreed schedule. A clear timeline helps in managing expectations and coordinating the various aspects of the construction process.
  4. Change Orders: Construction projects often encounter changes in scope, whether due to unforeseen circumstances or evolving requirements. The change orders clause details the process for handling changes to the project scope, including how additional costs and time will be managed. This clause should outline the procedure for submitting and approving change orders, ensuring that any modifications are documented and agreed upon by both parties.
  5. Dispute Resolution: Disputes can arise in any construction project, making a dispute resolution clause essential. This clause specifies how disputes will be resolved, such as through mediation or arbitration, rather than litigation. Mediation and arbitration are often quicker and less expensive than going to court, providing a more efficient means of resolving conflicts.

Understanding these key clauses in your construction contract can help protect your interests and ensure a smooth project. If you need assistance reviewing your contract or have any concerns, Wyman Legal Solutions is here to help. Our expert team can provide the guidance you need to navigate the complexities of construction contracts.

Do you have a $50,000 or greater problem? Call us at (561) 361-8700 for expert advice.

 

Avoid Scams: Understanding the Florida PACE Program and How to Protect Yourself

Are you considering the Florida PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program to finance your home renovation? While the PACE program offers excellent benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential scams and take steps to protect yourself. Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Florida PACE Program?

The Florida PACE program provides homeowners with a way to finance energy-efficient, renewable energy, and hurricane protection improvements. This program offers 100% financing with no money down and is repaid through a special assessment added to your property tax bill.

Key Benefits of the PACE Program:

  1. No Upfront Costs:
    The PACE program covers 100% of the project costs, eliminating the need for upfront payments.
  2. Easy Repayment:
    Repayments are made through your property tax bill over a period of up to 25 years, making it convenient and affordable.
  3. Eligibility Based on Property Value:
    Approval is based on your property’s equity and ability to repay, not your credit score.
  4. Transferable Upon Sale:
    If you sell your home, the remaining PACE assessment can be transferred to the new owner, making it an attractive option for long-term investments.
  5. Supports Various Improvements:
    The PACE program can be used for a wide range of projects, including solar panels, energy-efficient windows and doors, roofing, insulation, and hurricane protection measures.

Beware of Scams:

Recently, there have been scams targeting homeowners interested in the PACE program where salespeople knock on your door offering a “package deal” with a contractor and financing. Here’s how to protect yourself:

  1. Verify Contractor Credentials:
    Ensure your contractor is not only PACE-approved but also a licensed contractor. You can verify this through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) website.
  2. Do Your Due Diligence:
    Conduct thorough internet searches and check online reviews. Look for any red flags or complaints about the contractor.
  3. Check References:
    Ask for and check references from past clients. A reputable contractor will be happy to provide these.
  4. Get Multiple Quotes:
    Obtain quotes from several contractors to compare costs and services. Be wary of prices that seem too good to be true.
  5. Review the Contract Carefully:
    Ensure that all terms are clearly outlined in a written contract, including the scope of work, payment schedule, timelines, and warranties.
  6. Avoid Upfront Payments:
    Be cautious of contractors asking for large upfront payments. Legitimate PACE projects should not require substantial upfront costs.

How to Get Started Safely:

  1. Determine Eligibility:
    Check if your property is eligible for PACE financing. Most residential properties in participating Florida communities qualify.
  2. Choose a Licensed Contractor:
    Select a contractor who is both PACE-approved and licensed. Verify their credentials and check for any past issues.
  3. Apply for Financing:
    Submit an application through a PACE provider. They will assess your property’s eligibility and provide financing options.
  4. Complete Your Project:
    Once approved, your licensed contractor will complete the improvements. The PACE program will pay the contractor directly.
  5. Repay Through Your Tax Bill:
    Repayments are added to your property tax bill, spread out over a period of up to 25 years.

By taking these precautions, you can safely take advantage of the Florida PACE program and protect yourself from potential scams. If you have questions or need assistance with the legal aspects of your renovation, Wyman Legal Solutions is here to help.

Do you have a $50,000 or greater problem? Call us at (561) 361-8700 for expert advice.