Thanks to the Residential Construction Liability Act (RCLA) in Texas, there are only a few things a homeowner can come after you for. Before they can sue you, they must follow a process that allows you to make a reasonable settlement offer. To find out more about that process, see our previous blog article. If you cannot settle during this process, you will most likely be sued, but because of RCLA, you can only be sued for a limited number of things. In this blog, we’ll answer the question “how can a homeowner sue a contractor?”
Why would a homeowner sue a contractor?
The homeowner can sue you to get back the reasonable cost of repairs they made. Now, notice that it says “reasonable.” This means the reason that the repair had to be done must be practical. For example, it is not reasonable to replace the granite countertops because the homeowner did not like the color. The amount paid for the repair also must be fair.
The homeowner can also recover the cost of work damaged because of the defect. For example, let’s say you replaced a roof, and something went wrong, and the roof started leaking. Suppose that the water from the leaking roof ran down the wall and ruined a very expensive painting. You would be responsible for paying for the painting.
One thing is working in your favor, however. In most situations like this, the homeowner will file on their insurance to pay for the damages, and if the insurance company pays them, you do not have to pay for the damages. Be aware that the insurance company could come after you for what they paid, so you are not off scot free, but they usually will not bother unless the amount is substantial.
The homeowner can also make a claim for reasonable and necessary engineering and consulting fees that were incurred to repair the property. Homeowners who must move out of their house for the repairs are also entitled to recover these costs.
The Cromeens Law Firm is here to help
The Cromeens Law Firm is here to protect you and your business. Our hope is that you never get stuck in a legal battle because you were not adequately informed or prepared. Work with us to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to protect your business and your hard-earned money.
What would a homeowner recover by suing a contractor?
One issue that is highly contested is Stigma value. This means the homeowner can recover the amount the defect or damage has reduced the property value. This is expensive for the homeowner to prove, but it is also costly for you, the contractor, to disprove because it is a battle of the experts.
The last thing the homeowner can recover is their reasonable and necessary attorney fees. We know this list seems like a lot to take in, but before RCLA, there were ten times as many things a homeowner could sue a contractor for. It is so important to pay attention to this list as you are formulating your reasonable offer. It may be worth paying or doing a little more than your construction lawyers think is necessary just to stay out of litigation and minimize the potential of a judgment being taken against you.
Knowing what a homeowner can sue you for is the first step in preventing or mitigating their potential interference with your productivity and payment. To ensure you are protecting your business as best as possible, visit our full-service construction law firm, The Cromeens Law Firm, and speak with one of our reputable construction lawyers. Call us for more information on RCLA, what to do when facing litigation, and more. 713-715-7334.