Pennsylvania has new legislation in process to establish better consumer protection for homeowners.
- a state-wide home improvement contractor database
- written contracts required for all jobs over $500
- the scope and cost of work be set out in the contract and clearly understood by the customer
- makes home-improvement fraud a criminal offense
- with stiffer penalties for scammers who target seniors
Although receiving senate passage is promising, the bill won’t become law until approved by the House of Representatives and Governor Ed Rendell.
Pennsylvanians should also note the gotchas:
For a contract to be enforceable against a customer, it would have to be signed by the customer and dated, and disclose the approximate time frame of the work and materials to be used, as well as the specifications and description of the work. It would also have to include the total sales price.
In addition, a contract would be voided if it has a clause that releases the contractor from building code requirements or liability, or that strips the customer of legal rights.