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Perhaps you discovered a defect in the master bedroom ceiling of your home, which is currently undergoing renovations.

The work overall is nearly finished, but the contractor has not responded as you wished to your request to fix the defect. What are your next steps according to state law?

Complying with the code

You and your contractor are at odds over what you believe is a ceiling defect, and at this point, he or she seems to be ignoring the problem and is working on other parts of the house. You might be considering filing a lawsuit, alleging failure to perform the work required to fix the defect. However, you should first become familiar with the guidelines concerning residential improvements under state law as outlined in Chapter 21, Article 11A of the West Virginia Code.

The 90-day rule

For example, at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit, you must provide the contractor with written notification about the ceiling defect so that the person can offer to either repair the defect or settle your claim monetarily. Keep in mind that you are under no obligation to accept whatever offer you receive.

When the Article does not apply

There are various actions to which Article 11A does not apply; for example, a contractor who is not properly licensed, or alleging that a defect in construction causes a building to be uninhabitable or that a defect poses a threat of injury. Among other conditions, this Article would also not apply to a situation where you were looking for damages of $5,000 or less.

Consider options

Do not hesitate to explore your legal options. While the state of West Virginia encourages claimants to negotiate and come to an agreement with contractors outside of court, in the end, litigation may be the best way to settle a dispute over an issue such as the defect you found in the ceiling of your home.

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