When a complaint is filed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC), a contractor should take the matter seriously, as their very livelihood could be at risk. The ROC has the power to order a licensed contractor to perform corrective work. A failure to comply with the ROC or to meet minimum workmanship standards could result in a suspension or revocation of the contractor’s license.
Resolve Disputes Early in the Process
The best way to defend an ROC complaint is to avoid one in the first place. Doing good work and communicating with clients can go a long way toward avoiding any complaints, but sometimes a complaint will be filed regardless of these efforts. There is little risk or cost to a homeowner who files an ROC complaint, so contractors should expect to encounter a complaint eventually.
After the ROC receives the complaint, the contractor will be given a chance to resolve the dispute informally. While contractors are not required to correct work that already meets minimum workmanship standards, they should use good judgment when deciding whether it is simply better to meet the client’s demands, or to move deeper into the complaint process. This may be a good time to consult with an experienced construction defect attorney.
If the issue cannot be resolved, an inspector will come out to examine the contractor’s work and determine if it meets minimum workmanship standards. If the inspector orders the contractor to make any repairs, they should be completed in a timely manner and carefully documented.
The ROC Hearing
The inspector has the option of sending the contractor’s case to the ROC legal department, which could result in a citation and complaint against their license. At this point, the contractor should contact a lawyer if they have not yet done so. If a contractor fails to file a written response within ten days of the filing of the complaint, a default judgment will be entered against them., A default judgment could result in the suspension or revocation of their license.
After the contractor responds to the ROC complaint, they will then have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The hearing proceeds similarly to a typical trial. Both parties can present evidence and call witnesses. The judge will make a recommendation to the ROC, which the ROC can accept, modify, or reject.
The outcome of an ROC complaint can threaten a contractor’s livelihood or damage their record. Attempting to defend an ROC complaint without an experienced real estate attorney is extremely risky.
Chernoff Law handles real estate litigation matters throughout Arizona, including ROC complaint defense. Contact us by calling 480-719-7307 to discuss your real estate matters.