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HIC

If you are a home improvement contractor or homeowner in Massachusetts, we’ve got you covered with our introductory guide to understanding the Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) programs – from both perspectives, the homeowner’s and contractor’s.

This introduction to HIC programs is the first of our four part “HIC—Easy as 1-2-3!” blog series dedicated to providing resources and information concerning HIC law, contractors, homeowners, complaints and enforcement hearings, arbitration, and the Guaranty Fund. Keep reading to educate yourself or brush up on your knowledge about HIC programs in Massachusetts.

What is HIC?

HIC programs were established in 1992 as part of M.G.L.c.142A to ensure consumer protection and contractor regulation. This law provides the requirement and establishment of contractor registration, complaints and enforcement hearings, arbitration program, and the Guaranty Fund.

What do HIC programs cover?

The only form of contracting covered by home improvement contractor law is ‘residential contracting’ being done in a 1-4 residential unit that is also the homeowner’s primary dwelling. Residential contracting is when a home is being remodeled, repaired, altered, modernized, converted, demolished, or reconstructed.

How do HIC programs protect homeowners and contractors?

HIC programs provide a contract requirement for jobs over $1,000. This written agreement protects both parties.

The HIC arbitration program enables the homeowner or contractor to address and resolve disputes. If a homeowner win their case in arbitration or in court and the contractor fails to pay the award or judgment, the homeowner can apply to the HIC Guaranty Fund. The Guaranty Fund is used to compensate homeowners, up to $10,000, if judgements from arbitration are unpaid.

 

Recently WCVB covered some aspects of the HIC programs and spoke with an arbitrator in their story, “Home improvements? Tips to avoid contractor headaches.”

Stay tuned for part two of our “HIC—Easy as 1-2-3” blog series next week!


The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s vehicular and customized wheelchair Lemon Laws and Arbitration Programs, Data Breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the MA Do Not Call Registry. If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.

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