Massachusetts law about home improvement

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

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Best bets

For Contractors: Home Improvement Contractor registration and renewal, Mass. 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, Mass. 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.

For Homeowners doing their own work: Tips for DIY home remodeling projects, Beliveau Law Group.
“A permit for any remodeling project is issued by the local building department. If you’re doing the work on your own, you should request the permit. If you’ve hired a contractor, they should request it as they are responsible for compliance.”

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.142A Regulation of home improvement contractors

MGL c.143 Inspection and regulation of licenses for buildings, elevators and cinematographs

Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 14 Home Improvement Contractor Arbitration and Guaranty Fund
201 CMR 18 Home improvement contractor registration
780 CMR Massachusetts state building code

Building code

The current edition of the Mass. State Building Code is the 9th edition, which was filed with the Secretary of State by the Office of Public Safety and Inspections on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, effective on Oct 20, 2017. It is published in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) as Title 780. The ninth edition code is based on modified versions of 2015 codes as published by the International Code Council (ICC).

The Base Code has 36 Chapters, available as .pdf files for each chapter, enumerated by clicking on “Ninth Edition Base Code” under the Table of Contents heading. The Base volume regulates all structures that are not covered by the Residential regulations.

The Residential Code has 27 Chapters, available as .pdf files for each chapter, enumerated by clicking on “Ninth Edition Residential Code” under the Table of Contents heading. The Residential volume regulates all one- and two-family structures and townhouses that are three stories or less, as well as their accessory structures. 

The Basic/Commerical Code and the Residential Code in 780 CMR are available for purchase from the State Bookstore. The 2015 ICC codes are available for purchase from the International Code Council. Note that Massachusetts has adopted the 2015 codes. They are also available in print format for library use only in Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries, as linked below:

Forms

Building permit applications for non-state-owned buildings, Mass. Board of Building Regulations and Standards. 

If you are seeking to apply for a building permit for a building that is not state-owned, the process is administered by your local municipal building official. The Board of Building Regulations and Standards has created standard building application forms that may be used by the municipality, showing all the information that is needed to make the application process uniform across the state.

A sample Homeowners’ Exemption Eligibility Affidavit is available by scrolling down at The Board of Building Regulation and Standards’ Building permit applications for non-state-owned buildings.

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.

Home Improvements, Nolo.com.
Advice for homeowners and contractors from a legal self-help publisher. Not specific to Massachusetts.

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.

Is there any work that I can do without getting a permit?, Town of Lee, 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

Contact

Last updated: October 25, 2022
Feedback