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Starting July 1st, contractors who work on private residences must be licensed by the state of Pennsylvania. In October of 2008, the Pennsylvania General Assembly adopted The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA). This act requires registration for contractors who repair, remodel, or improve any private residence. This includes but is not limited to driveways, pools, flooring, sheds, additions, painting, roofs, windows, retaining walls, siding, and fences.
The act was created to help protect homeowners from being taken advantage of by dishonest contractors. The act applies to contractors who do more than $5,000 per year in sales and for contracts of $500 or more. The main objective of the act is to eliminate unfair trade practices. The law includes several features such as:
Contractors who fail to register will be prohibited from performing home improvements by the state and may face legal action including civil penalties if they fail to abide by the registration requirements. Contractors cannot be grandfathered out of this registration requirement.
Pennsylvania has taken great strides with this law but if homeowners knowingly hire unlicensed contractors then the system will not work. It is up to homeowners to verify that the contractors they are hiring are licensed. Dishonest contractors may claim to be registered. This is why viewing and verifying the registration certificate with the Bureau of Consumer Protection is recommended.
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