Home contractors often have the bad reputation of overcharging homeowners and delivering half past six workmanship, resulting in a lot of fear when one tries to engage their services. Not only that, some do not deliver the work on time, or worse, run away with your money despite not completing the job. These are just some of the real-life horror stories.
Could it be really that hard to find for an honest contractor? If you are a homeowner, what should you do before you go all out to engage one? Here are some considerations to take into account when you look for a contractor.
1. Are they licensed?
Always check if they are registered with a SSM license and CIDB. Any agreement made must always be written in black and white, so that if any dispute arises later, you are covered. Make sure you keep a payment receipt or a copy of it (photo) as proof in case the contractor does not want to repair the damage and you want to take action against the company. Also, request for a quotation before you pay any deposit. Do not rush into signing off anything and always take time to read and understand the terms and conditions set out in the contract or agreement before signing it.
2. Do your background checks
Yes, friend’s recommendations are always welcome but remember that there is no one size fits all for a contractor. What suits them in terms of budget and work quality may not be the same for you. Hence, always, always do your background checks. Do not just leave it to the recommendations you receive. Also, make sure you are keeping up with the progress from time to time, even when the project is almost completed.
3. Have a proper agreement set beforehand
Not only does this protect you, this is also beneficial for the contractor to avoid any disputes later on. You will be surprised that there are also irresponsible homeowners who haggle on the price later on after the work is completed. Among some of the details to be included in the agreement include the definition of a completed house and list down the conditions that must be complied, which indicates the house construction or home renovation is 100% completed, building materials for walls, roofs, floors, number of switches, the stages of payment – before the homeowner pays the amount, each stage must be certified by a qualified consultant, such as an architect as well as the DLP of which the contractor has to repair any damage to the project within this period.
4. Asking the experts
Before engaging a contractor, you can also seek professional advice from architects, engineers and quantity surveyors who can advise you on what needs to be looked at before work starts.
5. Filing a consumer tribunal claim
You can also file a claim with the Tribunal for Consumer Claims Malaysia (TCCM) under Section 53, Consumer Protection Act 1999 up to RM25,000 only. You can start by filling up Borang 1 which can be obtained at all Tribunal branches or download it from the e-Tribunal portal. Payment of RM5.00 must be made for filing the form. Subsequently, a copy of Borang 1 will be submitted to the claimed party, and both parties must attend the hearing. The date of the hearing will be fixed by the Tribunal.
Always know your rights as a homeowner and always keep yourself updated with the latest regulations to avoid any pain in the pocket and distress later on.
[Image source: House photo created by rawpixel.com]
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