The Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractors Act
Spring is here, and with it comes that familiar sound of construction. After the last snow has melted away homeowners across the Commonwealth come out of hibernation. Some will want to repair damage done by the winter weather, while others may decide that their home and property could use some revamping. No matter the reason, spring and summer are the months where many homeowners will engage the services of a contractor to perform services on their home.
Before engaging the services of a contractor it is important for a homeowner to do their homework. Researching a contractor before hiring the contractor is an obvious step, but one that is often overlooked by the homeowner. The Commonwealth provides a database for homeowners to lookup their chosen contractor to confirm that they are registered with the state. After choosing the contractor, the homeowner must then decide what the scope of the work is to be performed. At this point a contact is usually drawn up and the parties make agreements as to the work performed and the cost of these services.
Massachusetts has enacted a statute aimed to protect the homeowner from unscrupulous contractors. The Home Improvement Contractors Act regulates how a contractor performs their service. The act applies to all contractors who perform services related to “reconstruction, alteration, renovation, repair, modernization, conversion, improvement, removal, demolition, or construction of an addition…” of a pre-existing owner occupied building, which contains 1 to 4 units. The act also applies to any structure adjacent to a pre-existing owner occupied building.
In addition to specifying the types of activities that the act regulates, the act also spells out with specificity the language and notices that must appear in any home improvement contract. The failure of a contractor to include this mandatory language can subject that contractor to damages that result from the omissions. Additionally the act also includes language that is prohibited from being included in a home improvement contract, such as acceleration clauses.
Lastly, the act helps to protect a homeowner from a contractor who fails to perform the services bargained for, or who leaves the job unfinished. In certain circumstances a homeowner who feels that they have been victimized by a contractor can apply for and may receive reimbursement through the Home Improvement Contractor Guaranty Fund.
Massachusetts Home Improvement Lawyer
If you are thinking of having contracting work done on your house, having an experienced attorney review your agreement can often be the difference between receiving satisfactory results and protection and being left out in the cold. If you feel that you have been the victim of an unscrupulous contractor, we encourage you to contact our office as your remedy is likely just a phone call away.
Authored by Eric B. Langfield, Esq. of Cohen Cleary, P.C.. To contact Attorney Langfield at our Raynham or Plymouth, MA location please call (508) 880-6677