The State Senate advances an effort to keep homeowners from suing contractors before the contractors have had a chance to make things right. The proposal requires the homeowner to offer arbitration to the contractor first. It requires the contractor to respond to the concerns. But the bill lets the homeowner go to court if the contractor does not respond, refuses to make repairs, or refuses to make the repairs within a reasonable time. Sponsor Chris Koster of Harrisonville says it’s an effort to cool things down when anger and frustration sometimes lead to premature lawsuits. Governor Bob Holden vetoed a bill last year that made mediation mandatory which would have tied up homeowners for months. Koster says this year’s bill is much simpler and establishes a procedure that operates more quickly. To prove it, he has passed out a flow chart showing how the process would work. Last year’s chart had 31 boxes linked by 39 arrows. This year’s bill has a flow chart of 16 boxes and 22 arrows. An amendment has been added to the bill requiring contractors to give customers a copy of that procedural chart.
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