Congrats! You've survived your first week of summer weather in the Pacific Northwest. If you're like me though, 90+ temperatures mean you're actually spending more time inside, mooching off whoever is wise enough to pay for air conditioning. Though the winter is where construction defects become the most apparent, the hot summer months can be just as revealing.
Have you noticed that Oregon is changing? In the metro areas anyway, the apparent influx of people to Oregon in recent years has seemingly changed everything from the landscape to the traffic. But change isn't always a bad thing, especially for local rental and construction industries.
Generally, it's safe to assume when someone does work on a construction project, that person will expect to be paid. How soon that obligation to pay arises, however, is likely determined by the contract between the parties. In some cases, when it comes to a prime contractor paying its subcontractors, that obligation might never arise.
What's the harm in a little white lie? Many of us are trained to tell them as a way to minimize harm, distress or delay. In the context of property sales contracts, however, any lie - big or small - can result in enormous liability.
It's generally safe to assume people intend to finish what they've started. When parties don't see a project to completion, however, contract law will usually provide remedies. But what if that nonperformance is the result of matters beyond the parties' control? In that case, construction contracts only operate to bail out a nonperforming party if they contain a "force majeure" or similar clause.
Things can change in an instant in the construction business. For example, a contractor may make a bid relying on a bid proposal from a subcontractor. Any number of circumstances can then cause that subcontractor to withdraw after the contractor won the project bid. What is that contractor left to do?
Last month we wrote about some of the potential liability construction businesses can avoid by hiring licensed contractors. We noted that it would be shortsighted for businesses to see hiring unlicensed contractors as a way to reduce project costs. But what happens when workers misrepresent their status as licensed contractors to persuade you to hire them? Unfortunately, some victims in Oregon are finding out the hard way.
In any given transaction, no one is ever happy with getting less than they bargain for. When it's milk that goes bad too fast, we tend to grin and bear it. In bigger scale transactions, such as the sale of land, anything less than what was bargained for is unfair and unacceptable. Thankfully, the often rigid rules applicable to sales contracts will sometimes bend as justice requires.
Last week we wrote about some of the unique qualities of Oregon's Prompt Payment Statute that provides recourse for construction subcontractors and contractors when an owner or contractor fails to pay on time. Though it can be particularly harsh, the statute's penalties will not always apply all of the time.
Some say buying a home is the most important purchase a person will make. It's understandable then, that these sales contracts are long and contrived documents that are seldom understood in their entirety. Having an early understanding of the terms of your sales contract is important, however, as the rights and guarantees therein don't always last.