Home improvement contractors in New Jersey must meet certain requirements in their contracts or they are subject to harsh civil liability. Many contractors think that if they perform their work to the best of their abilities they will be insulated from lawsuits and claims. This could not be further from the home improvement contractors’ reality in New Jersey. Too many contractors are unaware that the failure to include certain pieces of information in their contracts can lead to a lawsuit and the award of damages against them.
New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act mandates that home improvement contractors meet certain contractual requirements when dealing with residential property owners. Contracts must include not only the legal name of the construction firm, but also the name of the individual who represented the company in negotiating the contract. Contracts must specify the type and quality of materials used in the project. In addition to maintaining general liability insurance with at least $500,000.00 limits per occurrence, the name and phone number of the carrier must be provided on the contract and a copy of the certificate of insurance must be provided along with a copy of the contract. These requirements are just the tip of the iceberg for home improvement contract requirements.
New Jersey contractors who fail to meet these standards in their home improvement contracts face harsh civil penalties. In an effort to incentivize competent attorney’s to represent home owners in Consumer Fraud claims, the legislature made an award of attorney’s fees mandatory for any contractual violation, regardless of whether the home owner actually suffered damages. This alone can lead to the contractor paying thousands of dollars in a Consumer Fraud lawsuit. Additionally, if the court determines that the deceptive or unfair business practices of the contractor caused an ascertainable loss to the residential property owner, the contractor is liable for triple (treble) the amount of the damages.
In light of these harsh penalties, it is more important now than ever for home improvement contractors to seek the guidance of an experience business law attorney. The attorney’s at LaVan Law are experienced in home improvement contract review and give home improvement contractors piece of mind and confidence in carrying out their business dealings.