ABANDONMENT OR FAILURE TO COMPLETE
Nevada, like most other states, has an administrative board that is responsible for the licensing and oversight of contractors that perform construction work in this state. The board is referred to as the Nevada State Contractors Board and is governed by Chapters 624 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC). Under NRS 624 the Contractors Board is responsible for investigating claims against contractors, conducting hearings and administering discipline when warranted.
A common complaint against a contractor is that the contractor abandoned the project or failed to diligently prosecute the work in a timely fashion. However, such a claim is of course based on the circumstances of each case. Not every delay in the work is the fault of the contractor. That is precisely why certain elements of the statute must be met before a contractor can be disciplined for abandonment or failure to complete the project.
NRS 624.301 requires that the abandonment or failure to prosecute a construction project with reasonable diligence be “without legal excuse.” But what is a legal excuse and who decides whether the excuse amounts to justification? For example:
A property owner experiences a water leak that must be repaired immediately. The contractor accepts an initial down payment by the owner in the form of a personal check. Because the water leak requires immediate attention, the contractor immediately exposes the pipe and repairs the leak, restoring water service but leaving the pipe exposed to ensure no further leaks appear. A few days later the contractor is notified that the owner’s check was dishonored. The contractor confronts the owner regarding the refused check and the owner, no longer having a broken pipe, demands that the contractor leave his property. When the contractor insists on being paid for the services he has provided, the owner retaliates by filing a complaint with the contractor’s board alleging that the contractor has abandoned the project by leaving the repaired pipe exposed.
This is a scenario that plays out in Las Vegas all too frequently. Does the owner’s bounced check and demanding that the contractor leave the property constitute a “legal excuse” for the contractor not completing the work, or has the contractor abandoned the project? Is this even a matter to be addressed by the Contractors Board, or is it a breach of contract claim to be resolved by the appropriate court? Despite that there are limits to the authority and enforcement of the provisions of Chapter 624 by the Contractors Board, the board nonetheless routinely prosecutes these types of claims against licensees.
When such enforcement is undertaken against a licensee it is imperative that the licensee obtain the services of an experienced attorney. The Wright Law Group, P.C. has several decades of experience defending claims before the Nevada State Contractors Board and is well equipped to assist you in handling your case. Please call us at 702-405-0001 to schedule a consultation or email us.