Protecting your Rights in Home Improvement Projects


Before you sign, know your rights!

Recently, Pennsylvania Governor Corbett signed into law an amendment to the Home Improvement Contract law that requires any home improvement contract include the sales price or a time and materials provision.

This is good news for consumers and something that reputable builders and remodelers always did  anyway!  Protecting your rights is important! The key is awareness so that homeowners seeking the services of a builder or remodeler take the time to review the contracts offered and ensure they follow the law.  Specifically contracts are to outline:

  • the dollar value of the initial estimated cost of the services
  • that the final cost will not exceed 10% of the dollar value of the initial cost estimate,
  • the total potential cost of the services to be performed under the time and materials provision, including the initial cost estimate and the 10% cap, expressed in actual dollars, and
  • a statement that the cost of the services shall not be increased over the initial cost estimate plus 10% without a written change order signed by the owner and contractor.

For more resources on selecting a remodeler, see this remodeling a bathroom guide tip from NARI.

Why the Amendment for Consumers?

In 2008, the PA Legislature passed the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act which effectively made working on the basis of Time and Materials, or Cost/Plus, illegal.  On one hand, this is a protection for the consumer.  However, it also was unfair to consumers who legitimately wanted to conduct their project in this manner.

My perspective:

This amendment to the law is a reasonable compromise that allows for Cost/Plus, or Time and Materials contracts but still provides consumers with the protection of knowing the maximum that the project is going to cost.  It still does not give the consumer all the flexibility that some may want, but it is a positive step in that direction.

Have more questions about remodeling contracts or your remodeling needs?  Visit our resource page, and be sure to let us know, we’d be glad to talk!



2 thoughts on “Protecting your Rights in Home Improvement Projects

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