The home service industry is no exception to the usual legal obligations that all professionals must follow. This article will highlight local home service contractors’ most common legal obligations. The following legal obligations apply specifically to local home service contractors:
1. Equipment Maintenance
Many homeowners hire contractors to perform little jobs around the house, such as a heat pump repair contractor. But before you can feel comfortable entrusting your work to someone else, you should ensure they know how to do their job. Most local home service providers are legally obligated to maintain their equipment properly to ensure this quality. They should safely store their equipment away from potential hazards. If the tool used during an installation is not stored correctly, it can cause accidents because it can fall out of its place unexpectedly.
For this reason, a local roofing contractor must have proper storage facilities for all their equipment and tools. They should keep their tools in a toolbox or standard storage device when performing a job. This helps protect these tools from hitting something and causing an injury to themselves and others. They should also regularly check and repair their equipment if there are signs of damage, like rust or cracks.
Of course, there are specific construction tools you’ll need for your job that you won’t be able to store at home. This can be equipment like a ladder or hammer. Local home service contractors should always bring these tools with them when they’re working. They should also check these tools regularly to ensure they’re in good working condition, especially if they live or work in bad weather conditions. That way, they can ensure the safety of their clients and themselves as well.
State law requires certain home service contractors to provide an identification number to anyone who requests and receives a service from the contractor. The purpose of an identification number (also known as a license or permit number) is to ensure that the contractor complies with all applicable laws, regulations, and rules. If you are a homeowner, you can request this number from the contractor before providing any service.
If the contractor fails to provide an identification number when requested or any sign or decal required by law is not displayed in plain view on the contractor’s vehicle, the contractor violates the law. In either case, you can report the violation to your county building permit office or your local law enforcement.
In addition, an identification number helps contractors to comply with any administrative requirements imposed by law. If a contractor fails to comply with any such requirements, the contractor’s identification number can be suspended or revoked. Moreover, performing or offering to work as a landscaping company without an identification number violates the law and is subject to enforcement.
Many home service contractors must bill for their services. Suppose a local home service contractor like commercial roofers provides an estimate for services and agrees to perform the work for a separate fee. In that case, that estimate is considered a binding agreement between you and the contractor. A binding agreement is a legal obligation that the contractor must uphold. The law requires the home service contractor to bill for the services rendered if you have an existing binding agreement.
Under a binding agreement, the local home service contractor agrees to perform work and to be paid by the homeowner. The contractor must provide an itemized bill within 30 days after completion of the services. You are not required to make a down payment or pay in advance if you have an existing binding agreement.
Your contract may require that you make periodic payments for labor and materials as the work progresses. Still, it must include a final settlement amount covering all labor and materials upon completion of the work. It is customary for contractors to submit a final itemized bill for any overages or change orders requested by the homeowner after the completion of services.
Every local home service contractor should disclose before they conduct any work on your property. These disclosures are essential to understand the risks and benefits of the work that will be undertaken and what you can expect from the contractor in terms of results. More than 30 local government obligations require home service contractors to provide clear disclosures and information about their services.
These obligations vary, but generally, they require an appropriate level of detail regarding the work undertaken and the liability and risk involved. Householders require this information as part of the tender process. It should also be available before payment is made when you are not present, such as on request or with a courtesy copy of the invoice.
In some cases, local government will expect commercial roofers to carry out additional, more dynamic disclosures concerning risks relevant to each project or contract. Sometimes there is a requirement that these disclosures be made before work begins on the property, and other times they can be done after the work has been completed. In any case, you must understand the detail of your disclosure obligations and what they are, as well as how the local government expects them to be implemented.
A legal obligation of local home service contractors is to clean up the job site after they are all finished repairing or installing your home or business. This includes vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping the floors in the work area. Any materials, trash, and debris are cleaned up from the premises. They can always hire a company offering waste disposal service when they cannot do an excellent job.
This gives you peace of mind regarding your property and ensures that your local home service contractor always maintains a professional appearance. If a local home service contractor does not clean up after themselves, the City Attorney’s office will hold the local home service contractor and their supervising contractors accountable.
The City Attorney’s office will charge a local home service contractor with an infraction and misdemeanor if they do not clean up the job site. If they do not comply, they can face penalties of $5,000 per day per offense, especially when someone is injured and an injury lawyer is needed. This means it can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. This is a reminder that local home service contractors are legally obligated to clean up the job site after they are finished repairing or installing your home or business. It is also essential to learn more about what a local home service contractor can and cannot do during their repair process.
6. Licensed Employees
A local home service contractor must ensure their employees have valid licenses for any trade before hiring them. Anyone who hires an unlicensed person to work on a customer’s home is liable for any damage caused by that person (see Section 2-106 of the Consumer Protection Code here).
A local home service contractor must ensure their employees have valid licenses for any trade before hiring them. Local home service contractors must prove their employees are licensed before hiring them. Anyone who hires an unlicensed person to work on a customer’s home is liable for any damage caused by that person.
Suppose a customer hires an electrician who does not supply proof that they are licensed, and the employee causes damage to their home. In that case, the customer may hold the contractor liable. Failing to request proof of licensing will not absolve the customer or contractor of any liability if the employee causes damage.
Conversely, if a local home service contractor’s employee causes damage to a customer’s home and no proof of licensing is provided to the customer, the contractor can be held liable. The employee is assumed to be unlicensed unless valid proof of license is produced. Employees are allowed to work for more than one contractor at a time. The consequences of failing to provide proof of license to a customer can result in a possible fine from $100 to $5000.
Using unlicensed employees means that customers may be at risk of higher repair costs and damages. It is easy for local home service contractors to verify licensing with the government due to their remote nature and location. When proof of licensing is provided, take care of the entire incident before the damage has been done.
7. Work Orders
A local home service contractor must leave a written work order with the customer upon completing any work or provide written confirmation of the agreed-upon price, including taxes and fees, before beginning any services. The local home service contractor’s name, address, and telephone number must be visible on or in this document or email.
After each trade, the local home service contractor must complete a work order and leave it with the customer. The work order must state the date and time of service, what services were performed, and the specific labor hours worked. You also need a written statement of the nature, kind, and quantity of materials used for each type of work and the name and telephone number of the roofing companies that did the work.
These work orders are considered legal documentation under Contractor’s License Law, and a copy of this document must be made available for review upon request. Most local home service contractors will have an email or written confirmation of the agreed-upon price, including taxes and fees, before beginning any services. Any verbal agreements made between the local home service contractor and the customer must be documented on the work order or other documents in writing before any work begins.
8. Termination of Services
A local home service contractor may not terminate services mid-job without the customer’s consent. If a local home service contractor, for instance, a furnace company, needs to stop working on a job, they must explain why and how much of the agreed-upon price has been paid by the customer. The local home service contractor must provide an installation receipt with the total price, including taxes and fees for any substantial incomplete work left by the contractor upon termination.
9. Contract Cancellation
Within five days after signing a contract with a local home service contractor, customers have a right to cancel it without penalty. A local home service contractor must provide customers with a form clearly outlining their right to cancel.
The form must include:
- The name and address of the specific local home service contractor.
- A detailed description of the work, including materials and cost.
- A line for the customer’s signature, name, and address.
- Spaces for two signatures.
A customer who cancels must return a signed cancellation notice to the local home service contractor within five days.
If the customer cancels, the local home service contractor may require that they pay only for services performed. For example, the local home service contractor offering local septic tank service must provide a refund within seven days. Suppose a customer cancels and the local home service contractor is not performing any work at a customer’s residence. In that case, the local home service contractor must provide a full refund within 15 days. While a customer is within the right to cancel, it may be appropriate for a local home service contractor to offer a partial refund.
In summary, a local home service contractor must follow some regulations when performing business with a customer. When hired by a customer, a local home service contractor must provide proof of their current license and not engage in any illegal activity on the premises. If a local home service contractor provides services to a customer and damages are caused on the premises, the local home service contractor should not be held liable since they have provided proof of license and damage. When an invoice is provided, it must be clear and concise and include the cost of labor and materials used to repair items.