Contract and Warranty Problems

Contract and Warranty Problems

Information on how to prevent issues with contract work and what to do if concerns arise.

How to Hire a Trustworthy Contractor


Check References:

  • Before you sign a contract or pay any money, ask people you know and trust who they have hired for their projects and whether they were satisfied.
  • Request local references from the contractor and contact them.
  • Check on complaints with the Attorney General’s Office (888-777-4590)
  • Check the Better Business Bureau’s complaint database at
  • Check to see if a contractor has been sued or filed a lawsuit -
  • Check on a contractor’s registration and bonding, go to:
  • Talk to the contractor for more than a few minutes.
  • Ask for a copy of the contractor’s liability insurance certificate.
  • Be wary of a person or company not listed in the local telephone directory.
  • Be wary of contractor who provides only a post office box address and not a street address.

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By: Iowa Legal Aid

Ask an Attorney - Should I Have a Home Contract?

If you are building a home, it is definitely a good idea to consider entering into a written contract with the businesses and professionals involved in the process even though oral contracts are enforceable. An attorney can help you with the contract process and with any disputes that may arise before, during or after building your home.

Mechanic's Lien Information

What is a Mechanic's Lien?

If you make an agreement with someone to do work on your property, that person can put a lien on your property if you do not pay. A lien is a claim against your property that can allow the person claiming the lien to sell your property or be paid if you sell your property. Every person who furnishes material or labor for any building or land for improvement, shall have a lien to secure payment for the materials or labor performed. The lien is not automatic. The contractor who does the work on your home has to file with the court to get the lien. A contractor can get a lien for such work as construction, repairs, sodding, landscaping, or fencing.

In order to put a lien on your property, the contractor will have to file with the court. The contractor must file a statement of account, the date when material was furnished, legal description of the property, and name and address of the owner of the property. The statement of account must be filed within 2 years and 90 days of the last date on which work was performed.

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By: Iowa Legal Aid

Ask an Attorney - What is a Mechanic's Lien?

General contractors, subcontractors and suppliers can file mechanic’s liens in order to seek payment for work the performed or supplies they provided if they follow registration filing and notice rules. This video describes how the parties involved in construction on property use the Mechanic’s Notice and Lien Registry, written contract terms and time sensitive notices to protect their interests and enforce their rights. Watch this video for more information about important details related to mechanic’s liens. 

Ask an Attorney - Contractor Work

If you do not like the work that a contractor did for you, keep in mind that you have 10 years from the date of a written contract to sue for breach of contract or, if there is not a written contract, 10 years from the date that you discovered that you found out that the work was defective. Learn more about the steps that you can take with the contractor before you take legal action. 

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