Perhaps the biggest concern that homeowners have is what to do if something does go drastically wrong. Despite the stories you may have heard, the truth is that most remodeling projects are completed to the homeowner's satisfaction - especially when you choose an EM NARI remodeling contractor.
But in those instances where all is not to your satisfaction, there are several courses of action you can take. Here's a basic overview of the Home Improvement Contractor Law with some tips on hiring a remodeling contractor:
Home Improvement Contractor Law
- Before you hire a contractor, check with the Board of Building Regulations and Standards to ensure that the remodeler is registered with the state (all EM NARI members are required to register under the Law). If you hire a contractor who is not registered, you will not be covered by this Law and it will be harder for you to get compensation if something goes wrong. (Note that some contractors including certain licensed tradespeople do not need to be registered.)
- Always ask for a detailed written contract. State law requires home improvement contracts over $1,000 to be in writing, but it is a good idea for smaller projects as well to ensure that both you and the remodeler agree on the details of the project.
- Be sure the contractor obtains the building permit in his or her name. If you apply for the permit, you will not be eligible for compensation from the Guaranty Fund (see below).
These measures on their own will reduce the chances of something going wrong. However if the job is not completed to your satisfaction, you may go through mediation, arbitration, or court action to receive compensation. If all else fails, you may be entitled to compensation from the Guaranty Fund which will cover up to $10,000 in damages. For more information, go to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation website.
Do you live in a home built before 1978? Be sure to read about lead-safe remodeling practices from the US Environmental Protection Agency.