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Massachusetts law about home improvement

A compilation of laws, regulations, and web sources on home improvement law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

Table of Contents

Best bets

For Contractors: Home Improvement Contractor Registration and Renewal, Office of Consumer Affairs. 
Information and resources on registering as a home improvement contractor. Includes forms, guidelines and a lot of information.

For Homeowners: Check if your contractor is a registered Home Improvement Contractor, Office of Consumer Affairs. 
Despite the title, this area includes information on hiring a contractor, required terms in a contract, and more. For any questions about the HIC programs, contact the Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.142A  Regulation of Home Improvement Contractors

Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 14  Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration and Guaranty Fund
201 CMR 18  Home Improvement Contractor Registration

Selected cases

Aulson v. Stone, 97 Mass. App. Ct. 702 (2020)
A homeowner was not responsible for a subcontractor's injury 
"where the homeowner did not retain control over the safety protocols and procedures or the operative details of the project but rather the contract allocated them to the general contractor." In addition,  "the homeowner did not direct how the employee used the saw, where the employee plugged in the saw, or the length or the path of the extension cord used to power the saw. The employee alone determined to use the table saw on the ground rather than on a table. ... Under such circumstances, we are doubtful that the homeowner had a duty to remedy the obvious hazard attendant to the employee's decision to misuse his own table saw in the manner alleged." 

Reddish v. Bowen, 66 Mass App 621 (2006)  The location of swimming pool less than six feet from property line violated state building code such that it was a violation of a “building law” and constituted an unfair or deceptive act in violation of Chapter 93A. 

Forms

Home Improvement Contractor Program Applications and Forms, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs.

Massachusetts Home Improvement Sample Contract, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs.

Web sources

Check if your work requires a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) or a Construction Supervisor License (CSL), Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs.
Table listing types of work and licenses required.

File a claim in small claims for damages up to $7000. 

Homeowner’s guide to hiring a home improvement contractor, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs.  Know your rights to prevent costly problems. 

I would like to perform my own electrical work. Can I pull a permit as a homeowner and not a licensed electrician?, Town of Marion, MA. 

Required contract terms in a home improvement contract, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs.
Hiring a contractor for a home improvement job? It must contain certain items.

Print sources

American jurisprudence pleading and practice forms annotated, Building and Construction Contracts, Part II C, Sec. 57-104.  Defective Performance.

Home Improvement Contractor Act, MCLE, 2010.

Home improvement contractor claims: Building your case, MCLE, 1998

Standard form construction contract documents, MCLE, 2008

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

Reference librarians online Chat with a law librarian 
Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

Administrative office (no law library at this location)
2 Center Plaza
9th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Last updated: September 16, 2020
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