Improving your Home Improvement Contracts

For over 12 years, Montero Law Group has been advising homeowners, home improvement contractors, sub-contractors and other real estate professionals concerning the murky area of home improvement law.

Real estate professionals, contractors, and homeowners should be aware of the rules and regulations governing home improvement contracts.

As our economy is showing signs of improvement and individuals are getting ready for spring home renovations, parties considering home improvement projects should speak with counsel prior to entering into contracts.

Indeed, we have seen many professionals use contracts that run afoul of compliance and can lead to litigation or administrative action by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission.

The best approach would be to have the MLG review your contract(s) to make sure you are in compliance with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission’s regulations and Maryland law. If you are a homeowner or real estate agent, make sure you are protected by ensuring your contractor is in compliance with Maryland law and regulations. If your contractor is already running afoul of the rules or law, you may want to reconsider but must move quickly to protect your rights.

Some provisions that are required to be on every home improvement contract include:

  1. A notice that gives the telephone number and Web site of the Commission and states that: each contractor and each subcontractor must be licensed by the Commission; and that anyone may ask the Commission about a contractor or subcontractor. (Some Professionals merely put their license number on the contract, but fail to provide the other required information).
  2. Approximate dates when work will begin and substantial performance completed. NOTE: Many professionals only provide a start date, but do not provide a substantial performance date)
  3. Description of the home improvement AND materials to be used. NOTE: many professionals only describe the work but fail to identify and specify the materials)
  4. A notice set by the Commission by regulation that:
    1. specifies the protections available to consumers through the Commission; and
    2. advises the consumer of the right to purchase a performance bond for additional protection against loss.

The above four points are only a few of the many requirements needed for a proper home improvement contract. Further, professionals may need to comply with other Maryland statutes including the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act and other consumer protection laws. Failure to do so could be considered a consumer protection violation which could impact the validity and enforceability of the contract.

R. Manny Montero and Jude Wikramanayake have been advising small businesses and individual homeowners with their contract needs for over 12 years. Contact us if you need to have contracts examined for compliance or have any home improvement contract issues.

We look forward to helping you call 301-588-8100 for a free consultation.