Construction / Home Improvement
Our firm represents contractors and sub-contractors in and around New York City and Long Island on numerous legal issues that arise from construction project large and small. We also represent owners of commercial and residential properties for their legal needs. The legal claims between parties in construction contracts are breach of contract, resolution of mechanics liens, matters with the company issuing a bond on the project, and deceptive practices by one or the other party. Construction projects oftentimes and unfortunately demand court resolution due to the high stakes of the investment made in the property, and the quality of the work issues. A skilled New York City construction lawyer is crucial to litigate claims, save an investment or fix a work issue.
Many of such construction contracts can involve hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars and represent significant investment from our individual and business clients alike. When a project goes bad in New York, there are potentially numerous actors involved in the mess including contractors, architects, engineers, other specialty trades in addition to the owners themselves. It takes a high degree of expertise in the Construction Law field to “speak the language” of the construction industry which Benjamin Hart, P.C. has done for two decades. We are very comfortable speaking the same language as all the players in a construction projects both large and small.
All of the above said, the cases obviously rise and fall on the quality of expert testimony, both written and oral. Only an expert can testify to the custom in the construction industry as to payment for construction services, disagreements over payment for additional work, back charges in dispute, stop work orders and delays, and the breach or termination of contracts.
Cases can also revolve around architectural or engineering errors or omissions implicating those insurance policies for recovery. Depending on the contract, a construction issue can sometimes be resolved through arbitration, mediation or litigation. Often, insurance companies deny or disclaim coverage for various reasons, such as late notice, and refuse to defend a lawsuit. The construction attorneys at our New York City firm can help fight back against an improper denial of coverage.Home Improvement Scams
On the consumer side, perhaps the largest and most crucial investment families will make is in their home. But if a contractor is guilty of shoddy workmanship, the homeowner gets only headache and not added value. The practices of New York City and Long Island contractors are specifically governed by local rules and regulations. If those are deviated from by the contractor, the consumer does have redress. But such redress will usually not come from the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office. It is crucial that a homeowner conduct major due diligence before making the huge decision to go with a construction contractor. That means shopping around, seeking out references for the contractor and checking with local Department of Consumer Affairs’ licenses. It is also important to remember that with such consumer contracts, the consumer has a quick 3-day right to rescind the contract, and unwind the transaction.
Home Improvement scams come in a variety of flavors. On the less serious end, a contractor can very simply breach a contract and not perform to a contract or which he or she agreed. However, a contractor may also never intend to do certain work nor have the ability to do certain work from the outset thereby deceiving the consumer into purchasing a home improvement contract from them. Our New York City construction attorneys have also seen cases involving contractors who do not conform to City Building Codes causing substantial damages to the consumer, as well as certain unlicensed home improvement contractors engaging in work and then illegally seeking money from the consumer. Other examples we have experience are the fraudulent inducement of a consumer into a modification of a contract requiring the consumer to pay more for work that should have been done under the original contract, but as alleged by the contractor is necessary to be further compensated.
Benjamin Hart, P.C. files and defends Construction Law claims New York City’s five boroughs, including New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Kings, Bronx, Staten Island (Richmond ) counties, Long Island’s Nassau & Suffolk Counties, Westchester, Orange, Rockland and certain up-state New York counties.