Your Contractor may be liable to you for consumer fraud violations, New Jersey home repair contractors and home improvement contractors must:
- Register annually with the Department of Community Affairs
- The statements they make in the registration must be truthful
- Contractors must display their registration number on their contracts and other documents
- They must maintain liability and other insurance
- Have a written, signed contract containing specifically required information, which is legible and accurate; thus not misrepresent anything
- All change orders must be signed and in writing
- Contractors must disclose and provide copies of all warranties
- They must include required language with the consumer’s right to cancel the contract
- Contractors must obtain all required permits before starting work
- Contractors cannot substitute materials without the homeowner’s written consent
- They may not engage in any misleading act or omission or fail to include any term or cost in the written, signed contract
- Contractors cannot use any pressure tactics or misrepresent a competitor’s work
- Contractor must give notice of delays beyond their contractor’s control, such as strikes, weather or acts of God.
If a contractor is found to have violated these regulations, it is a violation of the Act, which entitles the homeowner to triple damages plus having the contractor pay her attorneys fees. Another problem is that some homeowners assert these regulations as a defense to payment, even though the contractor did a great job; if there is a violation, there is a chance that the contractor may be denied any recovery and still be liable for damages and attorneys fees.