Post Content

In Part I of this series, I gave homeowners three tips for avoiding circumstances that will disqualify them from the Guaranty Fund.  In today’s post, I give three more tips.

To be eligible for the Guaranty Fund, you must submit your written Guaranty Fund Application within six months of receiving your court judgment or arbitration award.  The Home Improvement Contractor Law sets this six-month deadline and, accordingly, the Office of Consumer Affairs enforces it strictly.  Without exception, homeowners who apply late are automatically disqualified from the Guaranty Fund.  Often homeowners who apply late explain that they did not exhaust their collection efforts within the six-month time period, but homeowners do not need to exhaust their collection efforts before applying to the Guaranty Fund.  Exhaustion of collection efforts is only a prerequisite to receiving a payment from the Guaranty Fund.

To be eligible for the Guaranty Fund, your contractor must issue you a written contract and that contract must list a total price for the job.  Homeowners who do not have a written contract with their contractors will be summarily disqualified from accessing the Guaranty Fund.  Home improvement contractors are required by law to draft a written contract for any home improvement project exceeding $1,000.  The contractor is also obligated under the law to give the homeowner a copy of the contract after it is signed.  The contract is required to contain, among other terms, a total price.  Contractors sometimes insist on working on a “time-and-materials basis,” which is their hourly rate plus the cost of materials, without giving the homeowner a total price for the project.  Not only will this billing practice disqualify homeowners from the Guaranty Fund, but it can sometimes leave homeowners with unexpectedly large bills if the project runs longer than originally anticipated.

To be eligible for the Guaranty Fund, you must not pull your own building permit.  Contractors, especially those who do not have their Construction Supervisor Licenses, will sometimes invite homeowners to apply for their own building permits.  By obtaining your own building permit, you declare that you are responsible for the project – not your contractor.  Every town’s building permit application notifies homeowners that applying for their own permits will disqualify them from accessing the Guaranty Fund.  For example, look at the permit applications for Boston, Cambridge, or the Standard Massachusetts Permit Application.

 

Written By:

Recent Posts

Managing bills after a natural disaster posted on Sep 22

Managing bills after a natural disaster

Following a natural disaster, consumers in the disaster area are undoubtedly faced with challenges. After making sure loved ones are safe, attention turns to repairing damages and salvaging belongings. Day-to-day activities are often forgotten or put off. But it’s important to remember there are responsibilities,   …Continue Reading Managing bills after a natural disaster

Natural Disaster Preparation posted on Sep 19

Natural Disaster Preparation

A natural disaster or severe weather event can strike at any time, that’s why it’s imperative for consumers to be prepared. The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and the Division of Insurance offer the following tips for preparation and your safety after a   …Continue Reading Natural Disaster Preparation

How Do You Connect? A Consumer Guide to Landline Telephone Service: Part 4—Slamming and Cramming posted on Sep 12

How Do You Connect? A Consumer Guide to Landline Telephone Service: Part 4—Slamming and Cramming

When buying landline telephone service for your home, you should be aware of several issues, including technological changes impacting the communications network, and ask questions to make sure you are getting the type of telephone service that best meets your needs. Telephone calls are generally   …Continue Reading How Do You Connect? A Consumer Guide to Landline Telephone Service: Part 4—Slamming and Cramming