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Suite 160
Columbia, MD 21046

P. 410-290-0707

111 South Calvert Street

Suite 2700

Baltimore, MD 21202

P. 410-962-1199

Home improvement

Home Improvement Licensing

              All persons selling or performing home improvements in the State of Maryland are required to obtain licensure through the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, a department of the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.

            A contract for home improvement work is required by statute to be in writing, legible, and signed by the contractor and the home owner.  The home owner must be given a copy.  The contract must contain the following items:

1.                  the name, address and license number of the contractor

2.                  the name and license number of each salesperson who solicited the contract

3.                  approximate date when the work will begin and when to be substantially completed

4.                  a description of the work and materials

5.                  the amount agree to be paid

6.                  monthly payments and finance charges

7.                  description of collateral to secure payment

8.                  a notice that gives the telephone number of the MHIC and states that each contractor must be  licensed by the MHIC and that the MHIC can be asked by anyone information about contractors

9.                  if an interest in the home is given as security for payment a special notice is required and initialed by the home owner

            Failure to follow these guidelines can result in administrative sanctions by MHIC against the licensed contractor, and may have an impact on the ability to recover unpaid debts from home owners. 

            Selling or performing home improvement work without a license is a criminal act. Unlicensed contractors, as penalty for the failure to abide by the law, will not be able to recover unpaid debts from homeowners, and may be required to return any payments made by homeowners, whether or not due for work performed.  This disgorgement of fees is viewed as a penalty for non-compliance. 

            Sales people or contractors, unlicensed or not, who make misrepresentations or engage in out right fraud can be liable under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act.  This law, intended to protect consumers generally, applies to homeowners who may have been victimized.  Penalties include damage for any loss, additional statutory damages of a punitive nature up to three (3) times the damage, and the attorneys’ fees.

            Other acts or omissions of the contractor or sales people, aside from the content of the contract, can be illegal.  These include taking money before a contract is signed, taking a deposit of more than one-third,using an unlicensed name, dealing with unlicensed persons, using unlicensed sales persons, and failure to perform or complete the work.


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