Am I entitled to a contractor warranty against defects in workmanship or service?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 15, 2019

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Whether or not your contractor has to give you a written contractor warranty can vary by state. It can also vary based on the type of work being done. In some instances, even if the contractor does not give you a written warranty, you may have some rights against defects in the workmanship or service. 

Contractor Warranty Explained

For the most part, a contractor is not required to offer a contractor warranty. This may vary depending on the state where you live and the state where the contractor is licensed, if the contractor is licensed. Most contractors do give a warranty, however, although sometimes unlicensed or fraudulent contractors will refuse to do so or will have a very limited warranty for workmanship and service.

In most cases, since the option of a contractor warranty is left to the people making the contract, if there is no warranty contained within the contract or if the contractor is not willing to put one in, you may wish to negotiate to have a contractor warranty added or consider using a different contractor.

It is important to note as well that, in some states, there is an implied warranty of merchantability when it comes to “goods.” In other words, if you buy a tangible product, even if there is no warranty, the law may impose a warranty that the product must work as it is intended to. As such, if your contractor provides something to you that could be considered “goods,” such as handmade cabinets that turn out to have flaws in workmanship, you may be able to use implied warranty laws to get help from the courts if something goes wrong without some other type of written warranty. 

Getting Help

When it comes to a contractor warranty, it is up to you to protect yourself when you are having work done on your home. As such, before you sign any contract, make sure a lawyer looks it over. If it is too late for that, then you will want to call a lawyer to find out what recourse you do have if no contractor warranty exists or if the warranty you have just doesn’t make sense.  

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