Massachusetts Contractors–Is it Time to Review Your Contracts?

A well written contract is one of the most important tools a Massachusetts contractor can have. It insures there are no misunderstandings about what a job will include and what is to be expected of each party. More importantly, if you are a home improvement / repair contractor in Massachusetts, having a well drafted contract is not only good business practice – it’s the law.

Under M.G.L. c. 142A (also known as the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Act), all home improvement agreements in excess of $1,000 must be in writing. In addition, there are certain provisions that must be included in the contract, including the following information:

Basic Information: this includes (a) the contractors full name, (b) social security number, (c) address and

1. registration number of the contractor; (d) names of any sales person who solicited or negotiated the contract, and (e) date the contract was executed by the parties; Date the work is scheduled to begin and the date when it is to be substantially completed;

2. Detailed description of work to be done and the materials to be used;

3. Contract price;

4. Time schedule of payments and the amount of each payment including finance charges;

5. Contract must be signed by the homeowner and contractor;

6. Disclosure of permit information.

7. The contract must also contain a “clear and conspicuous” notice of the following: (a) that all contractors or subcontractors must be registered by law; (b) that the homeowner has a three-day right of cancellation if it is not executed at the contractor’s place of business; (c) the registration numbers of the contractors and subcontractors; (d) all warranties and owners’ rights under the act; (e) a notice (in 10-point bold type or larger) that homeowners should not sign the contract if it contains any blank spaces; and (f) notice of any liens or security interest placed on the property as the result of the contract. In addition to the above requirements, contractors looking for added protection may choose to include additional provisions for mediation, arbitration and the payment of attorneys’ fees.

Disagreements over home improvement projects can cost time and money. Besides producing bad feelings, they can also lead to lawsuits or other legal action. A well-written contract prevents that.

Home improvement contractors should carefully review their contracts to make sure that they are in compliance with state law. In Massachusetts, the failure to prepare a contract that is in compliance with the law can result in double or treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs against the contractor. Don’t wait for a problem with a customer before reviewing your contracts. Contact the Law Office of Curran & Desharnais, P.C. today to arrange for a thorough review of your contracts and avoid any potentially unecessary penalties.

Construction Law

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