Many people will look for contractors to help them with the massive amount of work required to repair the damage done by the worst winter on record. Who should they hire? Are they able to hire a contractor who is registered under Pennsylvania's Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act?
Pennsylvania's first year is marked by a new law that requires contractors to register with the Bureau of Consumer Protection. This Bureau is part of Pennsylvania's Attorney General's Office. The question is, however, how much of this new law actually protects you, the consumer. Many homeowners believed that registration meant the state approved contractors and that they were qualified to do the work. Many of these homeowners discovered that this is not true.
Although the law is a step in the right direction consumers shouldn't allow it to create a false sense security. Smart consumers need to do their research to ensure that they are protected. You can find out why by taking a quick glance at the law.
It has been said for years that all you need to become a contractor in Pennsylvania, is a pick-up truck and a hammer. This may be why Pennsylvanians are unhappy with the quality of their home's work. According to a national survey, fifty percent of respondents would not recommend their contractor. Pennsylvania has worse odds because there is no certification, licensing, or registration process.
Contractor licensing and certification requirements are required in many states. Many states require contractors to pass a written or physical exam. Some states require that contractors be bonded. Pennsylvania was the only state that didn't require this until last July. Pennsylvania now requires contractors to be registered. What is registration? Who needs it, and how can the registration system guarantee accountability? Is it possible to trust a registered contractor to treat your property, home, and yourself with the respect and care that you deserve?
The new law requires that all home and property improvements must be made by registered contractors. Except for landscapers, any person making more than $5,000 per year in construction, installation or work with non-decorative buildings must be registered with state.
A contractor must give the state his name, address and phone number. The names of his business partners must be provided. The State requires that the applicant also provide information about whether he has been convicted of any criminal offenses related to home improvements, fraud, theft, or a crime deceit.
A contractor must register every two years for $50. The state will provide a unique contractor ID number in return. This number must be displayed on all printed material and advertising that bears the company's name. The number must also be printed on all contracts. You should be suspicious of contractors who do not display their number.
Contractors must declare whether they have ever filed for bankruptcy or been ruled against by a court for a home-improvement complaint in the last ten years. They also need to state whether or not they were suspended from or barred from any Federal, State, or non-profit programs.
A contractor must also prove that he has $50,000 of liability insurance in order to protect the homeowner from any damages to the home or personal injuries. Pennsylvania employment law requires contractors to show proof of Workman's Compensation insurance. However, contractors don't have to prove this.
Important side note: Make sure your contractor has contractor insurance. Don't trust the contractor to tell you what to do. To protect yourself and your contractor, you need adequate and reliable insurance. Although $50,000 in liability insurance might seem like a lot to you, it is a small amount when compared with the actual value of most homes. The maximum amount you can get if the contractor burns down your house, provided there aren't any other claims against him, is $50,000. To protect homeowners, a reputable contractor will carry at least one-million dollars of liability insurance. For more detail visit https://cpgcomplete.com/