The Shield for New Jersey Home Improvement Contractors—The Written Agreement

Posted March 2, 2024

  • The Shield for New Jersey Home Improvement Contractors—The Written Agreement

New Jersey maintains some of the most robust consumer protection laws in the United States. Part of those consumer protection laws require that certain home improvement agreements be reduced to writing between the parties. Failure to have a written agreement could place you in the unfortunate position of facing a lawsuit for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act with the mounted pressure of treble damages and paying your opposing party’s attorney fees. Having a rock-solid written agreement is an absolute necessity for work to be done in New Jersey. This article will discuss the essential parts of a written agreement for home improvement work that can be crucial in defending against claims of violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

In New Jersey, if the home improvement work to be completed is in excess of $500.00, the agreement must be reduced to writing. Additionally, should there be any required changes in the terms and conditions of the contract, those must be in writing as well. It is important that no matter how minor the change, it should always be placed in writing. The original agreement, and any subsequent changes, should always be signed by all parties. Most importantly, the agreement should clearly and accurately set forth all terms and conditions that were agreed to between the parties.

There are several fundamental items that should be a part of every written agreement:

  1. As the contractor, you should list the legal name of your business, the business address, and your home contractor registration number.
  2. You should provide a copy of your certificate of commercial general liability insurance with the contract. There should also be a phone number where the consumer can reach the insurance company that issued the certificate.
  3. Most importantly, the contract should specifically indicate the total price or consideration to be paid for the work to be done.
  4.  Lastly, the agreement should contain a conspicuous notice that notifies the consumer that they are permitted to cancel the home improvement contract for any reason at any time before midnight on the third business day after they receive a copy of the agreement.

A well-written agreement can often be overlooked by many home improvement contractors. However, the protection provided by New Jersey’s consumer protection laws is daunting and having an ironclad written agreement can be the shield you need to fend off claims for violation of consumer rights.

Drafting an agreement can be a nuanced process and it is nearly impossible to make a perfect agreement but consulting with an attorney can help make things easier. Therefore, please contact me if you have any questions or if you need help.

About the Author

Michael Ierino, an attorney in the firm’s Cherry Hill Office, concentrates his practice on construction law, litigation, municipal law, and land use.

In his construction law practice, Michael adeptly advocates for the rights of both contractors and consumers embroiled in disputes ranging from breach of contract to negligence and consumer fraud. With a meticulous approach, he assists in crafting comprehensive written agreements for construction projects, ensuring clarity and protection for all parties involved. Michael’s commitment to thoroughness extends to conducting frequent on-site inspections alongside industry experts, enabling him to gain invaluable insights and a deeper understanding of each case’s intricacies.

Michael graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in May of 2017. He received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in Political Science from Slippery Rock University. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Latest News | The Law Around Us –The Inaugural Episode of “Legally Brewed”

Our Office Locations

Our offices are strategically located throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.