The Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor Act establishes an arbitration program to resolve disputes between homeowners and registered contractors.

In this arbitration program, the homeowner and the contractor will present evidence and testimony to an impartial person, often referred to as a neutral or arbitrator. The neutral will resolve the dispute by issuing a legally binding decision. The Home Improvement Arbitration Program neutrals are highly experienced and well-respected professionals with expertise in the construction field. Many are attorneys and some are retired judges, but the pool also includes a broad selection of industry experts.

The arbitrator, however, is not an investigator. Instead, the role of the arbitrator is to weigh and judge the testimony and evidence presented, and to render a final, binding decision on the matter. As such, you will need to present compelling evidence to support your case

If you have a dispute with a registered home improvement contractor and have decided to take legal action, you first will need to decide whether you will pursue your claim in court or through the Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration Program.

Your decision to seek arbitration should be based on whether you qualify for arbitration, whether arbitration is an effective method of pursuing your claim, and whether you objectively have sufficient evidence to support your case. You may also want to seek legal guidance.

Be aware that a contractor with a dispute against a homeowner may initiate an arbitration action under this program if both parties agree to it in the contract. In addition, if a homeowner initiates an arbitration action, the contractor may file a counterclaim against the homeowner.

Basic Rules for Home Improvement Contractors: Arbitration & Enforcement (Video)