The Pennsylvania Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA)
At Bellwoar Kelly, LLP, our real estate attorneys have over 30 years of experience in real estate law working with individuals, businesses, the local government and zoning boards in around Pennsylvania. From our offices in West Chester, Pottstown, Kennett Square, and Media, we advise clients on all aspects related to real estate matters, including consumer protection cases brought under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA).
What Is The HICPA?
In response to widespread home improvement contract scams in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania adopted the HICPA. The HICPA:
- Requires that contractors offering any sort of home improvements in Pennsylvania, register with the Attorney General’s Office
- States that home improvement contractors have an insurance minimum
- Requires that contractors include their registration number in any advertising and contracts
- Designates contract terms for home improvement projects
- Protects consumers from unfair business practices
- Establishes a criminal penalty for home improvement fraud
In short, the HICPA protects consumers from home improvement fraud and scams. The HICPA applies to any home improvement project that costs a homeowner more than $500, “in connection with land or a portion of the land adjacent to a private residence or a building which is used as a private residence.” Examples include (but are not limited to) repairs, remodeling projects, construction of exterior work like driveways or swimming pools, or installation of windows or air conditioning units. The HICPA does not apply to new construction projects.
Home Improvement Fraud In Pennsylvania
Under the HICPA, home improvement fraud is a criminal penalty. Home improvement fraud includes:
- Making misleading or untrue statements intended to encourage, induce or solicit a homeowner to enter into a contract for home improvement services
- Receiving payments for promised home improvements that are not actually provided
- Misrepresentation of a contractor’s identity
- Damaging a homeowner’s property with the intent to solicit a home improvement contract
If you think your contractor committed fraud or if you are a contractor and want to better understand your obligations under the HICPA, our experienced real estate attorneys at Bellwoar Kelly, LLP, can help.
Home Improvement Contract Requirements
Home improvement contracts must include the contractor’s registration number and be in writing. The contract also has to include all of the terms of the agreement, including all names, contact information and addresses for all contractors and subcontractors. There must be a description of the work, estimated start and end dates for the project and include all payment terms. In addition, the contract must include a notice that the homeowner has a right to rescind the contract and include the contact information for the Bureau of Consumer Protection.
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If you are a homeowner and think you have a case under the HICPA or if you are a contractor and would like to know more about your responsibilities and obligations under the HICPA, don’t wait. Call us today at 610-314-7066 or send us an email through our online form.