Homeowners who are unhappy with a remodeling project, or the construction of a home must follow the provisions of the Wisconsin Right to Cure Law before filing a lawsuit to resolve their dispute with the contractor. The Right to Cure Law requires an easy to follow, step-by-step pre-suit process.
Prior to signing a contract, 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). The Statute describing the procedures is Wis.Stat. § 895.07.
Second, if the homeowner believes the contractor’s work is defective, the homeowner must provide the contractor a written notice of the alleged defects. This should be a report from an expert or another contractor. Once this notice is delivered, the homeowner must wait at least 90 days before filing a lawsuit.
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 choose between options 1 thru 4.
Fourth, if the contractor rejects the claim or inspects and then 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 may result in the dismissal of your claim if the contractor files a motion in the lawsuit. Prior to starting any legal action it is always advisable to consult with an attorney.