Homeowners, dissatisfied with the construction of their new home or the results of a remodeling project, must follow the provisions of the Wisconsin Right to Cure Law before entering a courtroom to resolve their dispute. The Right to Cure Law mandates a relatively easy to follow, step-by-step pre-suit process.
First, before a written contract is entered into, or where there is no written contract before any work is commenced, the contractor is required by law to give the homeowner a copy of a brochure prepared by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce regarding Consumer Rights and written notice of the Right to Cure Law. A copy of the brochure can be found at http://commerce.wi.gov/SBdocs/SB-UdcRightCureBrochureV4.pdf and a copy of the written notice can be found at Wis. Stat. § 101.148(2).
Second, if the homeowner believes the contractor’s work is defective, the homeowner must provide the contractor a written notice of the alleged defects. Once this notice is delivered, the homeowner must wait at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit. Also, before filing suit, the homeowner must provide the contractor with the opportunity to repair or remedy the alleged defect.
Third, upon receiving the homeowner’s written notice, the contractor has 15 working days (or 25 days if the defect involves a window or door supplier) to serve on the homeowner either: (1) a written offer to make repairs or remedies at no cost; (2) a written offer for a monetary settlement; (3) a combination of options 1 and 2; (4) a written rejection; or (5) a proposal to inspect the alleged defect. If option 5 is selected the contractor has 10 days from the date of the inspection to chose between options 1 thru 4.
Fourth, if the contractor rejects the claim or inspects and them rejects, the homeowner can file suit. If the contractor makes an offer to repair, a monetary offer, or a combination of the two, the homeowner has 15 days from the receipt of the offer to serve the contractor with written notice of acceptance or rejection. If the homeowner rejects, he or she must provide their reasons for rejecting.
Fifth, if the homeowner rejects the offer, the contractor may, within 5 working days, give a written supplemental offer; the homeowner then has an additional 15 working days to respond. If this final step fails to settle the dispute, the homeowner may file suit.
Failure to follow the Wisconsin Right to Cure Law will result in the dismissal of your claim. Prior to starting any legal action it is always advisable to consult with an attorney. The business attorneys at O’Flaherty Heim Egan, Ltd. may be reached at 608-784-1605.