Tuesday, December 2, 2014 / by Teresa Dipeso
New Requirements for Home Elevation Contractors
People hiring contractors to raise their homes are advised there are new state requirements for registration, insurance and experience.
The Division of Consumer Affairs has reached out to the community of home elevation contractors to ensure they are aware of New Jersey's strict new requirements and that they adhere to them,” the division’s acting Director Steve Lee said. “Consumers who seek to hire a contractor should call us directly to learn about any specific contractor they may consider hiring.”
The new state statute regulating home elevation contractors took effect Oct. 1. It requires that all contractors who offer home elevation services must:
Have a named person in ownership, employee or a consultant position who has a minimum of five years of experience in home elevation;
Maintain commercial general liability insurance of $500,000 per occurrence, and a minimum of $1 million per occurrence of cargo or other insurance that specifically covers damages or losses to the homeowner, lessee, tenant or other party resulting from other home elevation activities, and;
Provide the Division of Consumer Affairs with specific information about the company’s street address, ownership, type of business and other information.
The requirements must be met by all persons or businesses that solicit or perform home elevation work, which is defined as raising an entire residential or noncommercial structure to a higher level.
There is a limited exemption for contracts signed before Oct. 1. If the contractor is registered with the division, maintains written proof that the consumer has been apprised of the law and has knowingly elected to proceed with the contract, then the contractor does not need registration as a home elevation contractor. Registration is required by the contactor for all subsequent contracts.
Information about home elevation contractors and a list of state-registered contracts is available on the Division of Consumer Affairs website, njconsumeraffairs.gov/HIC/.
When seeking to hire a home elevation contractor, consumers are advised to familiarize themselves with New Jersey’s requirements for home improvement contractors, as provided in the websites listed above.
Contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at 888-646-6225 or 800-242-5846 to learn about specific contractors. Ask whether the contractor is properly registered to perform home elevation contracting in New Jersey, and whether the company has been the subject of consumer complaints.
Obtain a copy of the contractor’s insurance policies and contact the insurer to verify that the policies are valid.
Contact your own insurance provider to learn about any limits or conditions that may exist in your homeowner insurance policy with regard to home elevation.
Ask for the names and contact information of references for whom the contractor has performed home elevation projects in the past, and ask those references about their experience.
Demand a detailed contract that specifies the project’s scope, time frame, total cost and other information. Under New Jersey law, contractors must provide a detailed contract for every home improvement project – including home elevation services – costing more than $500.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business or suspect any other form of consumer abuse can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs online or by calling 800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.
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Courtesy Shore News Today