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State Contract Laws

August 05, 1990

"Get Written Contract for Addition" (July 22) by Benny L. Kass concerning remodeling contracts is a good generic article. However, I fear that it might give California homeowners false information.

California has an extensive statutory scheme concerning home improvement. Many of the items that Kass suggests be included in the contract, are in fact regulated. As an example, a payment schedule must be included in the contract although no amount of retention is required by law. However, unless the contractor provides certain financial guarantees, the contractor may not receive any more in compensation than the percentage of the work that he has completed.

With respect to the "time is of the essence" suggestion, California requires that the contractor state when the contractor will commence and when the work will be substantially completed.

Although the AIA document cited by Kass may be a good document, it does not contain all of the provisions required in California law. Therefore, California consumers may not be as well protected.

The Contractors' State License Board publishes a booklet called "Blueprint for Building Quality." It is a good consumer book for people considering construction. Unfortunately, most people do not do as much homework in purchasing construction (which may be the second largest purchase in their lives), as they do in purchasing a suit of clothing.


North Hollywood

Abdulaziz is an attorney.

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