LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS
paul@newjerseylemon.com
Your Subtitle text

New Jersey Home Improvement Regulation Violations

INTRODUCTION
Read below to learn more about this topic. Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send him an email. Warning – this article does not necessarily include every New Jersey court rule, code or law that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not changed, repealed or superseded by other laws. Before taking any action, read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney. Court addresses, hours of operation and directions may change so check with the court in advance of mailing documents to court or going there! Some of the webpages on this site don’t apply to all types of New Jersey cases, since there are different rules for different case types!

NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR FRAUD FACTS

WHAT IS NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR FRAUD?
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is a powerful law that regulates New Jersey home improvement contractors that sell New Jersey home improvement services to New Jersey homeowners. New Jersey Consumer Fraud in New Jersey home improvement contracts is a very serious problem, causing many New Jersey homeowners financial losses and inconvenience.

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR?
A New Jersey home improvement contractor is a person engaged in the business of making or selling home improvements and includes a corporation, partnership, association and any other form of business organization or entity, and its officers, representatives, agents and employees.

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT?
A New Jersey home improvement involves the remodeling, altering, renovating, repairing, restoring, modernizing, moving, demolishing, or otherwise improving or modifying of the whole or any part of any residential or non-commercial property. Home improvement shall also include insulation installation, and the conversion of existing commercial structures into residential or non-commercial property.

WHAT IS A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT?
A New Jersey home improvement contract means an oral or written agreement for the performance of a home improvement between a New Jersey home improvement contractor and a New Jersey homeowner, New Jersey tenant or New Jersey lessee of a residential or noncommercial New Jersey property and includes all New Jersey agreements under which the New Jersey home improvement contractor is to perform labor or render services for New Jersey home improvements, or furnish materials in connection therewith.

TO WHAT TYPES OF NEW JERSEY HOMES DOES THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT APPLY?
The New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act applies to residential or non-commercial properties - any single or multi-unit structure used in whole or in part as a place of residence, and all structures appurtenant thereto, and any portion of the lot or site on which the structure is situated which is devoted to the residential use of the structure.

REQUIREMENT THAT NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR REGISTER WITH THE NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
On or after December 31, 2005, no person shall offer to perform, or engage, or attempt to engage in the business of making or selling New Jersey home improvements unless registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs in accordance with the provisions of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. Every New Jersey home improvement contractor shall annually register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Application for registration shall be on a form provided by the division and shall be accompanied by a reasonable fee, set by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs in an amount sufficient to defray the division's expenses incurred in administering and enforcing the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. Every New Jersey home improvement contractor required to register under the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act shall file an amended registration within 20 days after any change in the information required to be included thereon. No fee shall be required for the filing of an amendment.

DOES THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT APPLY TO HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS ADVERTISING IN NEW JERSEY?
Except for certain persons exempted by the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act, any person who advertises in print or puts out any sign or card or other device on or after December 31, 2005, which would indicate to the public that he is a contractor in New Jersey, or who causes his name or business name to be included in a classified advertisement or directory in New Jersey on or after December 31, 2005, under a classification for home improvements covered by the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act, is subject to the provisions of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. This section shall not be construed to apply to simple residential alphabetical listings in standard telephone directories.

WHEN IS THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT NOT APPLICABLE?
The New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act shall not apply to:

a. Any person required to register pursuant to "The New Home Warranty and Builders' Registration Act," P.L.1977, c.467(C.46:3B-1 et seq.);
b. Any person performing a home improvement upon a residential or non-commercial property he owns, or that is owned by a member of his family, a bona fide charity, or other non-profit organization;
c. Any person regulated by the State as an architect, professional engineer, landscape architect, land surveyor, electrical contractor, master plumber, or any other person in any other related profession requiring registration, certification, or licensure by the State, who is acting within the scope of practice of his profession;
d. Any person who is employed by a community association or cooperative corporation;
e. Any public utility as defined under R.S.48:2-13;
f. Any person licensed under the provisions of section 16 of P.L.1960, c.41 (C.17:16C-77); and
g. Any home improvement retailer with a net worth of more than $50,000,000, or employee of that retailer.

WHAT ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS MUST A NEW JERSEY HOME IMROVEMENT CONTRACTOR FOLLOW UNDER THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT?
In addition to any other procedure, condition or information required by the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act:

a. Every New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor applicant shall file a disclosure statement with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs stating whether the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor applicant has been convicted of any crime, which for the purposes of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act shall mean a violation of any of the following provisions of the "New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice," Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or the equivalent under the laws of any other jurisdiction:

(1) Any crime of the first degree;

(2) Any crime which is a second or third degree crime and is a violation of chapter 20 or 21 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; or

(3) Any other crime which is a violation of N.J.S.2C:5-1, 2C:5-2, 2C:11-2 through 2C:11-4, 2C:12-1, 2C:12-3, 2C:13-1, 2C:14-2, 2C:15-1, subsection a. or b. of 2C:17-1, subsection a. or b. of 2C:17-2, 2C:18-2, 2C:20-4, 2C:20-5, 2C:20-7, 2C:20-9, 2C:21-2 through 2C:21-4, 2C:21-6, 2C:21-7, 2C:21-12, 2C:21-14, 2C:21-15, or 2C:21-19, chapter 27 or 28 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, N.J.S.2C:30-2, 2C:30-3, 2C:35-5, 2C:35-10, 2C:37-1 through 2C:37-4.

b. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs may refuse to issue or may suspend or revoke any registration issued by him upon proof that the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor applicant or holder of the registration:

(1) Has obtained a registration through fraud, deception or misrepresentation;

(2) Has engaged in the use or employment of dishonesty, fraud, deception, misrepresentation, false promise or false pretense;

(3) Has engaged in gross negligence, gross malpractice or gross incompetence;

(4) Has engaged in repeated acts of negligence, malpractice or incompetence;

(5) Has engaged in professional or occupational misconduct as may be determined by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs;

(6) Has been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude or any crime relating adversely to the activity regulated by the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. For the purpose of this subsection a plea of guilty, non vult, nolo contendere or any other such disposition of alleged criminal activity shall be deemed a conviction;

(7) Has had his authority to engage in the activity regulated by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs revoked or suspended by any other state, agency or authority for reasons consistent with this section;

(8) Has violated or failed to comply with the provisions of any act or regulation administered by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs;

(9) Is incapable, for medical or any other good cause, of discharging the functions of a licensee in a manner consistent with the public's health, safety and welfare.

c. An New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor applicant whose registration is denied, suspended, or revoked pursuant to this section shall, upon a written request transmitted to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs within 30 calendar days of that action, be afforded an opportunity for a hearing in a manner provided for contested cases pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

d. An New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor applicant shall have the continuing duty to provide any assistance or information requested by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, and to cooperate in any inquiry, investigation, or hearing conducted by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

e. If any of the information required to be included in the disclosure statement changes, or if additional information should be added after the filing of the statement, the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor applicant shall provide that information to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, in writing, within 30 calendar days of the change or addition.

f. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (6) of subsection b. of this section, no individual shall be disqualified from registration or shall have registration revoked on the basis of any conviction disclosed if the individual has affirmatively demonstrated to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs clear and convincing evidence of the individual's rehabilitation. In determining whether an individual has affirmatively demonstrated rehabilitation, the following factors shall be considered:

(1) The nature and responsibility of the position which the convicted individual would hold;

(2) The nature and seriousness of the offense;

(3) The circumstances under which the offense occurred;

(4) The date of the offense;

(5) The age of the individual when the offense was committed;

(6) Whether the offense was an isolated or repeated incident;

(7) Any social conditions which may have contributed to the offense; and

(8) Any evidence of rehabilitation, including good conduct in prison or in the community, counseling or psychiatric treatment received, acquisition of additional academic or vocational schooling, successful participation in correctional work-release programs, or the recommendation of persons who have had the individual under their supervision.

DOES A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR HAVE TO CARRY INSURANCE?
On or after December 31, 2005, every New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registered under the New Jersey Home Improvement Contract Law who is engaged in home improvements shall secure, maintain and file with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs proof of a certificate of commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence. Every New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registered under the New Jersey Home Improvement Contract Law engaged in home improvements whose commercial general liability insurance policy is cancelled or nonrenewed shall submit to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs a copy of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance for a new or replacement policy which meets the requirements of subsection a. of this section before the former policy is no longer effective.

THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR MUST DISPLAY THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW REGISTRATION NUMBER AT CERTAIN PLACES AND ON CERTAIN NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT DOCUMENTS AND NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVERTISEMENTS
All New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants shall prominently display their registration numbers within their places of business, in all advertisements distributed within this State, on business documents, contracts and correspondence with consumers of home improvement services in this State, and on all commercial vehicles registered in this State and leased or owned by New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants and used by New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants for the purpose of providing home improvements, except for vehicles leased or rented to customers of New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor registrants by a registrant or any agent or representative therof. Any invoice, contract or correspondence given by a registrant to a consumer shall prominently contain the toll-free telephone number provided pursuant to section 14 of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act.

DO OUT OF STATE HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS HAVE TO FOLLOW THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT?
The provisions of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act shall apply to any person engaging in any of the activities regulated by the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act in this State, including persons whose residence or principal place of business is located outside of this State.

WHAT PENALTIES DO NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS FACE IF THEY VIOLATE THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT?
It is an unlawful practice and a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation to violate any provision of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. The following are some of the remedies that New Jersey home repair fraud victims may be entitled to under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act:
• Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
• Treble damages for ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
• Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation or defending against lawsuits by contractors to collect a fraudulent debt.
• Refund of money lost due to the contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.

In addition to any other penalty provided by law, a person who knowingly violates any of the provisions of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

HOW DO MUINICIPAL LAWS AFFECT THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR LAW, ALSO KNOWN AS THE NEW JERSEY CONTRACTOR’S REGISTRATION ACT?
The New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act shall supersede any municipal ordinance or regulation that provides for the licensing or registration of contractors or for the protection of homeowners by bonds or warranties required to be provided by contractors, exclusive of those required by water, sewer, utility, or land use ordinances or regulations. No municipality shall issue a construction permit for any home improvement to any contractor who is not registered pursuant to the provisions of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. The New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act shall not deny to any municipality the power to inspect a contractor's work or equipment, the work of a contractor who performs improvements to commercial property, or the power to regulate the standards and manners in which the New Jersey home improvement contractor's work shall be done.

HOW CAN THE PUBLIC LEARN INFORMATION ABOUT NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS?
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs shall establish and undertake a public information campaign to educate and inform contractors and the consumers of this State of the provisions of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act. The public information campaign shall include, but not be limited to, the preparation, printing and distribution of booklets, pamphlets or other written pertinent information. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs shall provide a toll-free telephone number for consumers making inquiries regarding contractors.

WHAT INFORMATION MUST A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT CONTAIN?
On or after December 31, 2005, every New Jersey home improvement contract for a purchase price in excess of $500, and all changes in the terms and conditions of the contract, shall be in writing. The contract shall be signed by all parties thereto, and shall clearly and accurately set forth in legible form and in understandable language all terms and conditions of the contract, including but not limited to:

(1) The legal name, business address, and registration number of the New Jersey home improvement contractor;

(2) A copy of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance required of a contractor pursuant to section 7 of the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act and the telephone number of the insurance company issuing the certificate; and

(3) The total price or other consideration to be paid by the owner, including the finance charges.

(4) The contract shall contain a conspicuous notice printed in at least 10-point bold-faced type as follows:

"NOTICE TO CONSUMER

YOU MAY CANCEL THIS CONTRACT AT ANY TIME BEFORE MIDNIGHT OF THE THIRD BUSINESS DAY AFTER RECEIVING A COPY OF THIS CONTRACT. IF YOU WISH TO CANCEL THIS CONTRACT, YOU MUST EITHER:

1. SEND A SIGNED AND DATED WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLATION BY REGISTERED OR CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED; OR

2. PERSONALLY DELIVER A SIGNED AND DATED WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLATION TO:

(Name of Contractor)

(Address of Contractor)

(Phone Number of Contractor)

If you cancel this contract within the three-day period, you are entitled to a full refund of your money. Refunds must be made within 30 days of the New Jersey home improvement contractor's receipt of the cancellation notice."

THE NEW JERSEY HOMEOWNER HAS A RIGHT TO CANCEL A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT AND GET A REFUND FROM THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
On or after December 31, 2005, a home improvement contract may be cancelled by a consumer for any reason at any time before midnight of the third business day after the consumer receives a copy of it. In order to cancel a contract the consumer shall notify the New Jersey home improvement contractor of the cancellation in writing, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by personal delivery, to the address specified in the contract. All moneys paid pursuant to the cancelled contract shall be fully refunded within 30 days of receipt of the notice of cancellation. If the consumer has executed any credit or loan agreement through the New Jersey home improvement contractor to pay all or part of the contract, the agreement or note shall be cancelled without penalty to the consumer and written notice of that cancellation shall be mailed to the consumer within 30 days of receipt of the notice of cancellation.

WHAT PENALTIES DO NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTORS FACE IF THEY VIOLATE THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT REGULATIONS?
It is an unlawful practice and a New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act violation to violate any provision of the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations. The following are some of the remedies that New Jersey home repair fraud victims may be entitled to under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act:
• Cancellation of fraudulent debts.
• Treble damages for ascertainable loss of money or property caused by the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.
• Attorney’s fee award for prosecuting the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation or defending against lawsuits by contractors to collect a fraudulent debt.
• Refund of money lost due to the New Jersey home improvement contractor’s New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act Violation.

In the typical New Jersey home repair breach of contract case that does not involve New Jersey consumer fraud, where a New Jersey homeowner prevents a New Jersey home repair contractor from completing the New Jersey home improvement contracted work under the New Jersey home repair contract, the New Jersey home repair contractor may be entitled to recover legal damages. But if a New Jersey home repair contract violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act or the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations, so as to make the New Jersey home repair contract unenforceable, the New Jersey home repair contract may be prevented from collecting some or even all of the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. Consult with a New Jersey lawyer to find out if you qualify for that type of relief against a New Jersey home repair contractor.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A NEW JEREY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR TRIES TO COLLECT A HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT BILL THAT IS THE PRODUCT OF CONSUMER FRAUD?
In the typical New Jersey home repair breach of contract case that does not involve New Jersey consumer fraud, where a New Jersey homeowner prevents a New Jersey home repair contractor from completing the contracted work under the New Jersey home repair contract, the New Jersey home repair contractor may be entitled to recover legal damages. But if a New Jersey home repair contract violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act or the New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Law, also known as the New Jersey Contractor’s Registration Act, so as to make the New Jersey home improvement contract unenforceable, the New Jersey home repair contract may be prevented from collecting some or even all of the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. Consult with a New Jersey lawyer to find out if you qualify for that type of relief against a New Jersey home repair contractor.

EXAMPLES OF NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR CASES IN WHICH THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR WAS PREVENTED FROM RECOVERING A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT BILL BECAUSE THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR COMMITTED NEW JERSEY CONSUMER FRAUD VIOLATIONS
The following are examples of New Jersey cases where New Jersey home repair contractors failed to collect on their New Jersey home repair contracts because they committed New Jersey consumer fraud violations:
• An unlicensed landscape irrigation New Jersey home repair contractor sued a New Jersey homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill for a sprinkling system and the New Jersey homeowner countersued the New Jersey home repair contractor, alleging that the New Jersey home repair contract was not enforceable because the New Jersey home repair contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
• An owner of a cleaning and restoration franchise specializing in mitigating damage following a fire or flood filed a New Jersey collection lawsuit against New Jersey homeowners and they countersued the New Jersey home repair contractor. The New Jersey court found that the New Jersey home repair contractor caused the dispute and therefore that the New Jersey home repair contractor was not allowed to collect the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill.
• A New Jersey home repair contractor sued a New Jersey homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. But because the New Jersey home improvement contractor failed to display its New Jersey home improvement contractor registration number on the New Jersey home repair contract, on most invoices and change orders, failed to display the Division of Consumer Affairs’ toll-free number on its documents and failed to put every change order in writing, the New Jersey home repair contract bill was uncollectible.
• A New Jersey home repair contractor sued a New Jersey homeowner to collect an unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill and the New Jersey homeowner countersued the New Jersey home repair contractor because the work was shoddy. Thereafter, the New Jersey court found that not only was the New Jersey home repair contractor’s work shoddy but that the New Jersey home repair contractor violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The New Jersey home repair contractor was prevented from recovering the unpaid New Jersey home repair contract bill. 
 

Website Builder