As a Contractor, you may be aware that beginning on July 1, 2009, the Pennsylvania Home Improvement and Consumer Protection Act will become effective.  The Act gives the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the Office of the Attorney General broad regulatory powers over Home Improvement Contractors and ties a new class of acts titled “Home Improvement Fraud” and “Prohibited Acts” into the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.  The Home Improvement Act contains several traps for the unwary Contractor, and many common practices utilized by Contractors will soon become sufficient grounds for Owners to void a Home Improvement Contract, constitute “Prohibited Acts” leading to civil liability under the Consumer Protection Statute, or even constitute criminal “Home Improvement Fraud,” an offense punishable as a third degree felony.
 
The Act applies to contracts for “Home Improvement,” which is defined as any contracts exceeding $500 for such things as the repair, replacement, remodeling, demolition, removal, renovation, installation, alteration, conversion, construction (other than construction of a new home), and even certain kinds of landscaping of a building designed to be used as a private residence and/or land adjacent to a private residence. 
 
The Act requires all Contractors doing business in Pennsylvania to register with the Attorney General, and to provide personal information of the principals of the business and such other information as proof of the Contractor’s insurance.  Successful registration, accepted by the Attorney General will then become a “Home Improvement License,” and the Contractor is awarded a “Home Improvement Contractor Registration Number,” which must appear on all advertising and vehicles bearing advertising of the Contractor. 
 
These rather stringent requirements of the Act do have one significant upside, however, because a License is now effective for the entire Commonwealth, and preempts all local contractor licensing requirements.