Surviving A DPOR Complaint

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Here is a recent article written by Henry Spalding, a Sands Anderson litigation attorney, for the Home Builders Association of Richmond newsletter.

As a lawyer representing homebuilders and general contractors, I am sometimes asked to assist them in responding to complaints filed against them by dissatisfied homeowners with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (“DPOR”). For builders, these complaints can be stressful, time-consuming, expensive and potentially detrimental to their licenses. Should you face a complaint, you should keep a few principles in mind.

DPOR regards its mission as, among other things, protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public by licensing qualified businesses and enforcing standards of professional conduct. Part of DPOR’s job is to administer and investigate consumer complaints filed against businesses licensed by DPOR. The process begins when a consumer files a complaint. For our purposes, let’s assume the consumer is an individual who has contracted with a builder for a new home. Once DPOR receives the complaint, its first step is to determine whether it is authorized to process the complaint. Assuming DPOR has jurisdiction, it will notify the builder of the complaint and request a written response, normally within a short period of time. In my experience, DPOR is generally willing to extend the time for responding.

Once the builder has responded, DPOR will typically investigate further. Often, if the circumstances so justify, the DPOR investigator will interview the homeowner, builder and other relevant witnesses. Such witnesses may include subcontractors and building inspectors. Frequently, DPOR will request documents from the parties. It is important to keep in mind that the file compiled by the DPOR investigator will likely be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, information which the parties share with the investigator will typically not enjoy any anonymity.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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