The 411 on Workmanship Warranties in Arizona: 3 Things to Know Before You Hire a Contractor
Whether you are getting a new home built or having your current home remodeled, it can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Most people have to invest a large portion of their savings into the project, and they just want to know they are getting the work done in a professional manner.
The good news for Arizona residents is that state laws offer multiple avenues to address any issues with the construction work. Here are three important things you need to know about workmanship warranties before you hire a contractor in Arizona.
Process with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors
All contractors and their work in the state of Arizona is governed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC), which manages licensing and regulation of any workmanship issues. If you have run into any issues or defects with a construction project that are not being addressed by the contractor directly, a complaint can be filed with the ROC on the matter.
One of the guiding rules for all licensed contractors is that their work must be completed in a “workmanship manner.” When a complaint is filed, the ROC will schedule an inspection of the construction work to see if it meets the standards of workmanship.
Once the inspection is completed, any issues or construction defects will typically result in a corrective work order that must be fixed by the contractor. The corrective work order usually includes a deadline of fifteen days, and the inspector will return to review the corrected work. This process will generally resolve minor construction defects or issues because the contractor can lose their license and ability to work in Arizona if the order is ignored.
Consumers can proceed to an administrative hearing and present their issues to a judge if the corrective work order does not resolve the matter to their satisfaction. The burden of proof is on the property owner, meaning the contractor is presumed to have met the “workmanship” standard unless the property owner presents sufficient evidence to show that the contractor’s work fell short of the standard. You should review the work with an experienced Phoenix real estate attorney before proceeding with this option to ensure that you’re putting your best evidence and arguments forward. While it is often straightforward to file a complaint, administrative hearings should not be undertaken without professional representation and review of your matter.
It is most important to note the statute of limitations in Arizona for construction defects to file a complaint with the ROC is two years from the end of the construction project. Most consumers would not wait this long to address an issue, but this limitation makes it vital to get an inspection or review with a real estate attorney if you have any questions or concerns on a recent construction project.
Superior Court Actions Can Be Pursued Without a Satisfactory ROC Resolution
In the event that a consumer is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution with the ROC or the statute of limitations has expired, there are options to continue pursuing a resolution in Superior Court. For those consumers that purchased a new home build in Arizona, state laws allow for a dwelling action against the builder or seller of the new home if construction defects in the property arise outside of the two-year period to address the issue with the ROC.
In these cases, the consumer must provide written notice of the issues or defects with their intention to pursue a purchaser dwelling action if they are not resolved. The seller has an opportunity to provide a response with their intention to fix the issue or provide compensation within sixty days of receiving the notice from the consumer.
This official notice should be drafted by an experienced real estate attorney that has been able to review the matter and assess the construction defect. Once filed, it will set in motion a process that allows the seller to respond or gives the purchaser the right to pursue a complaint in Superior Court.
All Construction Work in Arizona Has an Implied Warranty
Arizona law has some important protections for consumers that hire contractors for any construction work in the state. One particular area that might be missed by some people is that all work has an implied warranty of meeting workmanship standards. This means that a contractor cannot avoid their responsibility to complete their work up to these standards by putting language in a contract that relieves this duty to their customers. It is common sense that a contractor must meet the terms of their contract for a project, but the implied warranty is not as well known.
Express warranties are covered by the two-year statute of limitations in Arizona, but implied warranties are generally covered for up to six years after the issue or defect is found. This means that the implied warranty for construction work in Arizona can apply many years after a project is completed if the defect was not found until long after the contractor has left the job site.
While this protection can certainly help, it is a much better practice to get any work inspected and reviewed instead of waiting for an issue to arise. Do not assume the implied work will cover any issue down the road and be proactive about any concerns.
Work with Arizona’s Leading Real Estate Law Firm
It can be frustrating to find out an expensive construction project has defects, and the issue only gets worse if you are not able to get a reasonable response from the contractor. This is an important time to remember that Arizona has laws to protect consumers and hold contractors accountable for work that does not meet professional standards.
The attorneys at M&G Law can assess any construction work or real estate issue to determine the best course of action. Our firm can guide you through the process of pursuing a fair and equitable resolution. Contact us today at 602-562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment on our website.