Organized and thorough records could encourage a contractor or developer to settle a dispute with a common interest community association short of trial or even prior to initiating litigation during alternative dispute resolution.
It is imperative that a specific procedure be put into place and followed with respect to construction defects and issues that arise at an association during transition or when an association is involved with or anticipates litigation with its developer and/or subcontractors. Evidence of complaints, including phone logs, correspondence or electronic communications from home owners, estimates, work orders and proposals should be well documented and maintained in an organized fashion so that all such evidence can be presented when and if necessary.
In the event repairs on construction defects are necessary, consideration must be given to preserving developer and contractor warranties. No work should be initiated without notifying all potential defendants of the anticipated work, and when applicable, confirming with your attorney that completing the work will not compromise the Association’s position in any pending or future litigation. When work is done without taking proper steps to ensure that all potential legal claims are protected, the potential value of a case could be significantly diminished.
It is important to work with contractors that are experienced with transition/litigation cases and capable of documenting evidence that may be necessary to present at trial. Such contractors will submit detailed estimates or proposals prior to completing work, take photographs and otherwise document what observations are made on any construction defects, and what work is done and submit detailed invoices after completing work. It is also important for the contractor to possess qualifications sufficient for him/her to testify at trial on the Association’s behalf, if necessary.