The Home Improvement Contractor Registration Program is authorized by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 142A. The laws sets out the parameters for registration and empowers the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to administer the program. The law is codified as a Code of Massachusetts regulation (CMR).

Who must register? 
All persons, individuals, proprietorships, partnerships, corporations who solicit, bid on, or perform residential contracting as a contractor or subcontractor on an EXISTING ONE TO FOUR UNIT OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL BUILDING.

Who is exempt from registration?

· Workers who work for a contractor or subcontractor for a wage

· All licensed professionals or tradesmen who take an exam as a condition of their licensure when they are working within the scope of their license, such as architects, electricians, plumbers but NOT Construction supervisors licensed by the BBRS.

· the Commonwealth or its subdivisions

· Schools offering vocational education courses or training in home construction or improvement.

· Owners doing their own renovations

· Persons who perform any bona-fide single job costing $1,000.00 (one thousand dollars) or under.

· Part time contractors or subcontractors whose gross revenue in the previous 12 months was less than $5,000

· Persons enrolled as full time students for last and next academic term and 2/3 of whose employees are so enrolled and whose gross revenue is anticipated to be or has been under $5,000.

· Persons who install central heating, A/C systems, energy conservation devices, provide conservation services on behalf of a public utility, landscaping, interior painting, paper hanging, finished floor covering, tile, fencing, free standing masonry walls, above-ground swimming pools, shutters, awnings, patios, driveways.

What work is covered?

Residential contracting is defined as;

"the reconstruction, alteration, renovation, repair, modernization, conversion, improvement, removal, demolition or construction of an addition to any pre-existing building containing at least one but not more than four dwelling units, which building thereof is used or designed to be used as a residence or dwelling unit, or to structures which are adjacent to such residence or building."

 

Do I need a written contract?

All agreements with owners for work exceeding $1000 (one thousand dollars) MUST have a written contract. The Contract MUST contain certain provisions detailed in the. Click here pdf format of Sample Contract to view a sample contract .

Fees

The fee is structured in two parts (A registration fee and a mandatory contribution to the Guaranty Fund) and must be paid by separate CERTIFIED CHECK or MONEY ORDER (the Office of Consumer Affairs does not accept cash, personal checks or payment by credit card).



Fee Type

Fee

Renewal Period

Registration Fee

$150

Two Years

Guaranty Fund Contribution

0-3 employees

$100

One time fee upon initial registration*

4-10 employees

$200

11-30 employees

$300

More than 30 employees

$500

* Additional contributions may be assessed at a future date by the Program Director

What is the Guaranty Fund?

The Guaranty Fund is a fund maintained by the Commonwealth, supported by registrant contributions. After certain conditions are met, any owner whose contractor violates any provision of the law may receive some or all of their damages from this fund. The responsible contractor must repay the fund for these payments or else he risks suspension or revocation of registration and administrative penalties and fines.

What are some of the key provisions of the Law

Any contract with an owner above $1,000 must be in writing and must contain certain provisions as specified in the law.

Contractors/subcontractors cannot act as mortgage brokers or represent lenders.

Building permits, contracts, and advertising for residential contacting must contain the registration number of the contractor.

Contractors/subcontractor is responsible for conduct of employees, salespersons and subcontractors within the scope of their contract with the owner.

All building permits shall clearly state that persons contracting with unregistered contractors do not have access to the guaranty fund.

Provisions can be made in the contract for contractors to use alternative dispute resolution through any private service approved by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

Action to enforce provisions of this law or to seek damage can be brought in superior court, district court or in the small claims court.

Responsibilities of Owners

Owners not using registered contractors or obtaining their own permits cannot receive payment from the guaranty fund.

Owners must have a court or arbitrator judgment and have made diligent efforts to collect damages before a claim can be made against the guaranty fund.

The maximum award from the fund is the lesser of;

the actual damages or,
$10,000 (Ten Thousand Dollars)

for any one job and up to $75,000 (seventy five thousand dollars) against any one contractor.

Owners MUST have a written contract for work over $1,000.