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The Office of Consumer Affairscontractor and design and Business Regulation oversees the registration of contractors performing improvements or renovations on detached one to four family homes. Prior to performing work on such homes, a contractor must be registered as a Home Improvement Contractor (“HIC”).

What some homeowners and contractors don’t realize, however, is that any subcontractor hired by the contractor and performing work for which an HIC is required must also be registered as a Home Improvement Contractor. There are a few exceptions to this requirement and contractors and their subcontractors should be sure to review the guidelines to ensure they are following the law.

Some construction firms may need additional identification cards for partners or employees in dealing with building officials or potential customers. The law does allow contractors to purchase supplemental cards in order for employees of a company to use the owner or principal’s registration number instead of needing their own. However, if your subcontractor is not an employee of your contractor, they need their own registration number.

The Home Improvement Contractor law was created to protect consumers and regulate the practices of home improvement contractors. Using a registered contractor enables homeowners to receive compensation from the Guaranty Fund for unpaid judgments against home improvement contractors should something go wrong.  That’s why it’s important to check your contractor and subcontractor’s registration status every time you undertake home repairs or renovations.

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. 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 all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.


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