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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

3 ways home renovations can lead to big problems

Making significant updates to your home should be a positive development. Not only is a renovation or addition a way to make your house better fit your needs, it can also be beneficial in the long run. A larger property with more features will certainly be more desirable to buyers, leading to quite a return on investment.

Unfortunately, this type of work does not always go to plan. Here are three ways home renovations can go wrong.

The work is not up to code

Both the state of Michigan and municipalities within it have rules meant to ensure structures are safe. These building codes include requirements for things such as:

  • Structural support methods
  • Electrical wiring
  • Materials used in the walls and ceiling
  • Fireplace and chimney design
  • Plumbing
  • Exits out of the structure

What happens if a contractor or builder does the work, and it doesn’t meet these specifications? You, the property owner, could find yourself facing fines down the line, or even being forced to pay for fixes. In addition, code violations can hurt the property’s value. A buyer doesn’t want to pay for a problematic home.

The builder didn’t get proper permits

In order to do significant work on a property, a contractor or builder needs to get permits. Which permit is required depends on the type of work being done. What happens if work is done without a permit?

First, it may not be up to code, meaning part of your home is now potentially unsafe, CNBC explains. Second, if those issues cause any damage, there’s a good chance your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it. And third, it can cause problems if you later try to sell the property.

Unlicensed contractors

The point of licensing is to ensure people doing work on a home have the knowledge and skills to do the job properly. An unlicensed contractor or builder may not pull permits or ensure everything is up to code – leaving you with quite a big mess on your hands. In fact, scammers try to do this in Michigan every year, taking homeowners’ money upfront before doing subpar work and fleeing. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you hire an unlicensed contractor, you may be liable for any on-the-job injuries that occur.

Don’t take home renovations lightly. Do your due diligence, including by speaking to an attorney if needed, to ensure you make an educated decision. For those projects that end poorly despite your best efforts, you may need to consider legal action.