Home Remodeling Conflicts

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 What is Home Remodeling?

Home remodeling is a process which is often referred to as property renovation. Home remodeling often involves changes or improvements which are made to real property or to a residence.

The phrase making home improvements may also refer to making improvements on business and commercial properties in addition to improving a residential property. Some common examples of home renovations or remodeling include:

  • Repairing broken structures or fixtures;
  • An addition or upgrade to a functional aspect of the property, such as adding on to a home;
  • Cosmetic changes which are intended to increase the attractiveness of the property;
  • Adding more levels or space to a structure; and
  • Altering an exterior aspect of the property, which may include a garden or parking lot.

Property renovations generally consist of measures that are taken to keep the property maintained and upgraded. Renovations and remodeling may also involve changes which are intended to enhance aspects of the property, such as its safety and disability accessibility.

A property owner does not have an automatic right to renovate their property. For example, a property owner would not be permitted to renovate their property if those changes would result in a violation of a city ordinance or a state law.

In general, a property renovation may only occur if the land owner or manager of the property consents to the renovation. Any authorizations which are performed may result in a private civil lawsuit.

There are, however, certain types of property renovations which may be necessary for a property. For example, if there is an issue which involves a dangerous building.

The property owner of the dangerous building may be required to make certain renovations in order to fix the conditions which are potentially hazardous. A renovation may also be necessary if there was a city zoning ordinance or health code ordinance which was recently issued and the structure or property did not comply.

Whether an individual has just purchased their home or if they have owned their home for a period of time, they may determine that the value of the home and their quality of life would both improve from a home renovation. In most cases, a home remodel includes changing, replacing, or updating certain features in order to improve the home.

It is important to note that renovation and remodel are synonymous terms, both of which refer to work which is performed by a contractor or another type of professional to the actual property. In contrast, the term redecorating refers to changing or updating personal decorations in a home, which may include art or furniture.

In addition to the list above, home remodeling may include:

  • Replacing older appliances with new ones;
  • Updating light fixtures;
  • Fixing electrical issues;
  • Repairing broken windows, floors, doors, and other structures;
  • Replacing the flooring;
  • Expanding the house by adding more rooms or floors;
  • Updating countertops and cabinets in bathrooms and the kitchen;
  • Adding a pool, deck, patio or porch; and
  • Painting interior and exterior walls.

Home remodeling may be both expensive and time consuming. It is, however, typically associated with an increase in the value of the home which more than compensates for the expenses of the remodeling.

How do I Finance Home Remodeling?

Depending upon an individual’s plans for their home, a home remodel may be extremely costly. The individual does not always have to wait until they have the funds available to pay for the remodeling.

There are some lenders that will provide a home improvement loan. This type of loan is designed to assist a homeowner with a renovation on their property.

These types of loans are personal loans and are usually short-term loans with higher interest rates. Typically, however, they are not secured like a mortgage.

What are Some Common Home Remodeling Conflicts?

There are numerous examples of common types of property renovation conflicts, which may include:

  • Negligence. This is because a failure to repair a dangerous building structure may lead to a premises liability claim;
  • A breach of contract, such as a violation of construction contract terms;
  • A loan default, as a home improvement loan is commonly used for property renovation projects; and
  • Various zoning laws and ordinance violations.

In certain cases, a violation may only be discovered once a renovation has been completed. Due to this issue, it may be difficult for an individual to request that a property renovation be undone.

Instead, a court will likely issue a monetary damages award to compensate the individual for their losses and, perhaps, cover the costs of having the faulty renovation fixed. A court may take this action instead of issuing an injunction to have a renovation undone or destroyed.

As noted above, a home remodel is a type of home improvement. A home remodeling dispute refers to a legal dispute which arises between a contractor and a property owner or between a property owner and a mortgage company.

Some common examples of home remodeling disputes include:

  • Failure to pay for the work completed;
  • Providing substandard work; and
  • Damaging the property instead of improving it.

There may also be issues involving a breach of a loan contract. Home improvement loans are funds which property owners borrow from a mortgage lender for the purposes of repairing, remodeling, or adding to a property.

A home improvement loan dispute may arise when a homeowner fails to fulfill the terms of a loan, such as failing to make payments on time. Another example of a home improvement loan dispute includes fraud.

Fraud may occur when a property owner unknowingly applies for a home improvement loan with a fraudulent company. Fraud may also occur if the property owner provides false documents in order to obtain the loan.

Remodeling conflicts can occur between an individual and:

  • Their lender;
  • A contractor;
  • A neighbor; and
  • The local government.

Common home remodeling conflicts may include, but are not limited to:

  • The home improvement loan contains very restrictive clauses that prevents the individual from carrying out their design as planned;
  • The owner is unable to make their home improvement loan payments in a timely manner;
  • The individual used your home improvement funds for something other than home remodeling;
  • A contractor did not perform the job to the owner’s satisfaction;
  • A contractor did not finish the job;
  • A contractor is demanding more money than originally agreed-upon;
  • An individual’s neighbor is disputing a renovation because it is an eyesore or is encroaching on their property;
  • The city does not approve the work at all and refuses to issue the owner a permit; and
  • The city does not approve the work as up to code once it is completed.

Is a Lawyer Necessary for Home Remodeling Disputes?

It is very important to have the assistance of a property attorney for any home remodeling disputes that may arise. Although a home remodel can greatly increase the value of your home and provide more enjoyment of your time spent in your home, home remodeling disputes with a lender or other party can be very challenging.

Your attorney can review your situation, advise you of your local laws and rights, and represent you in court. If you had a home remodel go wrong, your attorney can help you obtain compensation for your losses.

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