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Examining contractor liability for defects in construction

Maryland homeowners may be interested in an article discussing some of the ways that a contractor can be held liable for faulty work. These various causes of action can help the homeowner enforce the construction agreements and achieve the desired remedy.

During the home-building process, the homeowner, contractors and subcontractors enter into various contracts in order to define what work is to be completed. When there are construction defects in the home, the homeowner will use these agreements to force the party who bears responsibility to fix the issue.

In such cases, negligence is the legal theory that describes a case where a contractor fails to live up to their duty to perform their work to a reasonable standard of care. The contractor owes this duty to any parties who would foreseeably be injured by the negligence. If they do not reach that standard, they may be held liable in court. During such actions, contractors may also be responsible for their subcontractors' negligence.

When a contractor intentionally misrepresents the quality of their construction work, either through their advertising or in statements made to the homeowner, they may be liable for fraud. In other cases, the agreements can create warranties about the condition of the home. These warranties can be either express, meaning that they were communicated to the homeowner, or implied, such as that the home is built in a workmanlike manner. A breach of these warranties or the obligations under the construction contracts can be a basis for liability.

Determining whether one of these theories of liability fits can be difficult without the help of an attorney. The attorney may be able to assess the situation and review the construction contracts and bring the appropriate cause of action against the contractor. The attorney may also be able to negotiate a settlement that can remedy the issue with the home.

Source: Findlaw, "Legal Liability for Construction Defects", August 07, 2014

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