New Jersey has strict regulations in place which govern home improvement contractors. Contractors that do not adhere to these regulations can be sued for consumer fraud, and the homeowner may be eligible to receive triple damages along with the cost of any attorneys' fees.
New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) gives homeowners recourse against home improvement contractors who breach contractual commitments, perform shoddy work, misrepresent facts or commit fraud. The CFA excludes new-home construction and is limited to non-commercial residential properties. The CFA also does not apply to any contractor required to register pursuant to the New Home Warranty and Builders' Registration Act.
A home improvement contractor violates the CFA if they do any of the following:
Knowingly omit key information
Violate the regulations that implement the law
Home improvement contractors must also comply with all New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) regulations. Contractors are presumed to be familiar with these regulations. Liability under the CFA does not require that the contractor actually misled or defrauded the consumer, but merely that a violation of any kind occurred.
Some of the other ways contractors can violate the CFA include:
Not supplying home improvement registration information
Failing to list the requisite contractor's insurance information
Beginning work without a written contract for the home improvement work provided
Not including the start and completion dates for the home improvement project in the written contract
Requesting payment outside the terms stated in the agreement or before the work is done
Substituting lower-quality materials than those listed in the written contract
Requesting more money for work performed than what is listed in the written agreement or without a signed change order
In fact, home improvement contractors might inadvertently violate the CFA by not obtaining permits before beginning work on homes. Projects require a building permit if they involve structural, electrical or plumbing work.
If you've had issues with a home improvement contractor, it is best to consult an experienced consumer protection attorney. They can help you determine if your contractor failed to comply with the CFA.
Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. advises South Jersey clients in consumer protection matters. Please call 609-601-8677 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation at one of our New Jersey offices, located in Linwood, Pitman and Marlton.
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Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. is located in Linwood, NJ and serves clients in and around Linwood, Somers Point, Ventnor City, Margate City, Northfield, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Absecon, Pomona, Oceanville, Mays Landing, Egg Harbor City, Port Republic, Brigantine, Longport, We also serve Atlantic, Cape May, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden counties.
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