Renovation disputes in Singapore
A renovation dispute may arise when contractors or homeowners perform shoddy work or make defects during renovations. This article outlines everything related to the renovation or contract dispute in Singapore. Apart from choosing the right contractor, several other things are discussed in the article to clear out all your possible confusion.
Things to keep in mind
Selecting the right contractor
It’s veritably important to choose a reliable and certified contractor. Many organizations, including CaseTrust or the Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre (RADAC). As a result, RADAC offers delegation schemes to ensure the high standards of their accredited members.
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Before proceeding with the renovation works
It is highly recommended to sign the contract under the inspection of the renovation contract. Take a moment to carefully read each term specified in the contract and try to completely understand all the rights and obligations specified in the contract. You should always keep a copy of the contract with you.
Numerous contractors undertake standard term contracts commonplace all around the industry. Some examples include the CASE model agreement. Be aware and restrict from signing the proprietary contract by contractors as it might be creative in an unfair manner in their favor.
Read your renovation contract.
The contract involves all the precise terms considering both the homeowner and the contractor. Various renovations may require permits or approvals from HDB or BCA since the renovation contract involves all the contractor’s obligations.
Before proceeding with the renovations, the contractor might have made oral promises and commitments just ahead of the primary motive of the renovation contract.
The contractor or their representatives cannot make false statements, whether written or oral, to mislead or misrepresent the homeowner, and may be liable for damages.
Some basic contractual terms you should know:
When it comes to payment, then it should be done progressively. It is suggested to not make the complete payment in advance.
- Commencement and completion dates and schedules.
- Liquidated damages
Liquidated damages clauses imply the amount of damage the party breaching the contract requires to pay to the other party. As a result, if the contractor breaches the agreement, the homeowner may not have to prove and quantify the exact amount of his losses but claim the amount mentioned in the liquidated damage clause.
The homeowner may not compel the contractor to adjust the work without a variation clause, and the contractor might be able to charge a higher price or delay completing the work.
Material quality and workmanship are both excellent.
- Rectification of defects:
Contractors are required to rectify the defects before handover.
- Dispute resolution:
The mediation clause may require the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) or other neutral parties to resolve disputes.
It is important that you closely supervise the renovation and instruct the contractor if you have any concerns. If you find any defects, collect evidence of defects for future use. Only make the payment once you are satisfied with the work.
If you are not satisfied with your present and looking to engage a third party to look after the works, you need to inform them regarding the same to your current contract and undergo a mutual compromise to termination terms and payment. In addition, you may need to apply for a new HDB permit, change your house keys, and submit an application to the new contractor.
In the event of a dispute
Communicate with your contractor or the liable party
By going through the contract, determine if the contractor breached any of the specified terms. If you have a complaint, it would be best to communicate the same to the contractor or liable party first, as this will give that party a chance to address the issue amicably.
Third-party suppliers or subcontractors
The contractor may or might not be responsible if the materials are full of defects which the suppliers referred by you provided.
Depending on the contract between you and the contractor, you may be held liable for the defective works performed by the subcontractor.
To get a clear idea, it’s better to properly read the terms given in the content to figure out which party will be held responsible for subcontractors’ acts.
Making a complaint with the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE)
After trying all the above aspects, if you are yet not satisfied, you may consider filing a complaint with CASE, provided your matter is related to the consumer-to-business dispute. CASE can either interact with the contractor on your behalf or form a letter to the contractors subjecting to the enterprises. It will also help you convey your words more effectively through legal terms so that their problem will be evident.
Mediation at CASE or a neutral board
CASE offers an affordable mediation scheme for benefiting the customers. The binding settlement agreement will be drafted if the mediation is successful, and both parties need to sign the agreement. If any of the parties breaches the settlement agreement, then the other party has the full authority to take legal action against the contractor.
A trade association dependent on its membership for funding should be scrutinized for impartiality and fairness before accepting its mediation services.
Lodging a claim with the Small Claims Tribunals
You have the right to file the claim at the Small Claims Tribunals (SCT) if the incident which took place was not older than 1 year and the claim amount is S$20,000 (or up to S$30,000 only if the contractor does not have any objections to bringing the claim matters to the SCT).
Obtaining legal advice or commencing litigation
According to your renovation contract, there may be clauses that require mediation or arbitration before you can bring a lawsuit against the contractor. If so, you may not be able to commence litigation against the contractor until you’ve tried mediation or arbitration.
Under any situation, if you run out of choices, the quantum or kind of your claim does not fall under the category of SCT’s jurisdiction. Each of them needs to seek advice from the lawyer and check if taking legal action is the right choice.
So the above article has the solution to all your renovation-related disputes in Singapore. Apart from this, if you seek a professional translation agency Singapore, Singapore translators are definitely the one-stop solution for you. Here you can get access to all sorts of legal document translation services.