Call for mandatory builder contracts as disputes rise

Consumers are calling on local authorities in France to make it compulsory for builders and other workers to sign specific written contracts

Consumers are calling on local authorities  in France to make it compulsory for builders and other workers to sign specific written contracts, after an increase in malpractice lawsuits and disputes.

The CLCV, which calls itself the national association in defence of consumers and users (Association nationale de défense des consommateurs et usagers) is calling on local authorities to make a signed, written contract compulsory for all work costing more than €150.

The contract would also have compulsory mentions of the length of work, its finish date, and details on how payment will be taken.

It would also mention a minimum penalty amount to be paid by the building company for each day of delay with the work (5% per day, for example) and contain an absolute guarantee of finished work for any project costing more than €1 000, with no extra cost passed on to the consumer should the building overrun.

The call comes as the number of malpractice lawsuits and legal disputes over building work increases, with figures suggesting one in three projects in 2017 has run into difficulties.

Problems usually focus on work that is deemed to not fulfill the original brief (43%), late running and abandoning of work (20%), lack of resources (8%) and bankruptcy (7%), according to figures in French newspaper Le Figaro.

“Even though most of the time, everything goes well between the consumer and the professional worker, this is not always the case,” said the CLCV in a statement.

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