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A Home Improvement Contractor License, Definition and reasons to work with a contractor who has one:
In the state of Massachusetts a contractor must register with the state in most cases.
The exception for a painting contractor who only work only in the interior of homes or performs wall covering (wallpaper installation) DO NOT need to be registered with the state.
What Does the (HIC) certification mean to the consumer?
- To protect you as the consumer! When contractors register with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, they must make a contribution to the Guaranty Fund. Consumers may be eligible for reimbursements through the fund should something go wrong during the construction process. Please see M.G.L, c. 142A, § 5.
- The Guaranty Fund is funded by the fees the HIC license generates.
- M.G.L, c. 142A, establishes a residential contractor’s Guaranty Fund within the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation to compensate owners for actual losses incurred by them as a result of a registered contractor or sub-contractor conduct which has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be work performed in a poor or unworkmanlike manner or which is a common law violation of any statute or regulations designed for the protection of consumers. Please also, refer to M.G.L, c. 142A § 5 on applying for the fund and qualifications.The Home Improvement Contractor Act establishes a Guaranty Fund to compensate consumers up to $10,000 for unpaid judgments, against only registered Home Improvement Contractors. The Guaranty Fund is supported by a one-time fee that contractors are required to pay at the time of registration. After a consumer is paid from the Guaranty Fund, the responsible registered contractor is obligated to reimburse the Fund with interest within 30 days. Failure to repay the Fund may result in fines, revocation of the contractor’s registration, and, in extreme cases, referral for criminal prosecution.In order to qualify for the HIC Guaranty Fund, you must file for arbitration within two years of the date on the contract. You must satisfy the requirements for arbitration (see “Arbitration” above”). You must have a legal judgment before you can take advantage of the Guaranty Fund. The arbitration decision will fulfill this requirement. In the alternative, you may seek a legal judgment through traditional legal action. In order to recover from the Guaranty Fund, the contractor or your agent must have obtained the necessary building permits.
There is additional information regarding the Home Improvement Contractor License and Guaranty Fund at this link http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/home-improvement-contract/home-improvement-contractor-frequently-asked.html
Additionally if you would like to chek to see if your Home Improvement contractor is registered with the state please visit this website http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dps/