Home Improvement

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N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16
APRIL 1, 1980
New Jersey has a stringent regulation requiring contractors to follow specified business practices while affording consumer additional protection.

This regulation requires contractors to:

  • Ensure that all required state and local building permits are issued before beginning any work.
  • Give you a written copy of all written warranties and any manufacturer's guarantees for your home improvement work. The contractor must also give you copies of his/her own guarantees at the time the bid is presented to you and upon completion of the job. The contractor is only required to provide you with one (1) copy of the manufacturer's guarantee. These guarantees must be clear, specific, and sate any limitations and guaranteed time periods.
  • Tell you in advance if the estimate does not include delivery, installation, financing charges or any other costs or fees.

Contractors are required to give you a written contact for all home improvements over $500.00. The contract must be signed by you and the contractor, and it must clearly and accurately give you the following information.
The name and address of the contractor and the sales representative, if any.

  • A description of the work to be done and the major products and materials to be used or installed. The description must be specific and include the names of manufacturers, size of models and quantity of the parts and appliances.
  • The total price for the home improvement, including all finance charges. If your contract is for labor and material, the hourly labor rate must be clearly stated.
  • The dates or time period when the work is to begin and to be completed.
  • A description of any security interest taken in connection with the financing or the sale of the home improvement.
  • A written statement of any verbal guarantees or promises made by the contractor.

Home improvement contractors cannot:

  • Make any false or misleading statements about his/her products and services or the condition of your home (such as misstating that a part is defective or unsafe).
  • Engage in a bait-and-switch tactic by offering a certain product or material for sale without intending to sell it and then inducing you to buy a higher-priced one.
  • Offer or advertise any gift, free item or bonus without fully disclosing the conditions of the offer. The contractor must comply with the terms of all offers he/she makes.
  • Request that you sign a certificate of completion or make your final payment before the home improvement is completed.
  • Deliver materials, begin work, or use any other tactic to pressure you into signing a home improvement contract.
  • Fail to complete all work within the time period specified in the contract, unless the failure is due to a cause beyond the contractor's control. If a legitimate delay occurs, the contractor must advise you in writing. In addition, any changes must be agreed to in writing.

On December 31, 2005, most New Jersey Home Improvement Contractors, with a few exceptions, will be required to register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. After January 1, 2006, contractors who have not received registration numbers will not be allowed to obtain construction permits or undertake any home improvement work in the state. 

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