Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC)
The Maryland Home Improvement Commission licenses and regulates home improvement contractors, subcontractors and salespersons. Home improvement work includes alteration, remodeling, repair or replacement of a building or part of a building used as a residence. Home improvement also includes work done on individual condominium units. Home improvement does not include work done on commonly owned areas of condominiums or buildings that contain four or more single family units. The Commission investigates complaints by homeowners, awards monetary damages against licensed contractors, and prosecutes violators of the home improvement law and regulations.
The Commission has a Guaranty Fund (The Fund) supported by licensed contractors, who pay a Guaranty Fund assessment when they obtain their Home Improvement license and each time they renew their license. This Fund compensates homeowners for actual monetary losses due to poor workmanship or failure to perform a home improvement contract. The Fund applies only to work done by licensed contractors. The maximum amount that a homeowner may recover through the Fund is the amount paid to the contractor, up to $20,000. If the total amount of all claims against a contractor equals more than $100,000, then each homeowner’s award is pro-rated based upon the total amount awarded to each claimant.
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News and Updates
As a result of the passage of Senate Bill 285, the Maryland Home Improvement Commission will eliminate the Subcontractor License category as of July 1, 2016. All application, examination, and renewal requirements will be eliminated. As of July 1, 2016, home improvement subcontractors may work without a license when performing home improvements for an MHIC licensed contractor in the State of Maryland.
The law continues to provide that only MHIC licensed contractors may enter into contracts with homeowners to perform home improvement work. The Commission encourages all subcontractors that are eligible to become contractors to apply for the Maryland Home Improvement Commission Contractor License.
As a result of the passage of House Bill 439, certain changes have been made to the Maryland “Door-to-Door Sales Act” concerning home improvement transactions As of June 1, 2016, the standard three business day cancellation period which a buyer has under the Door-to-Door Sales Act for contracts which are signed at the buyer’s home will be increased to five business days for home improvement contracts. In addition, the cancellation period under the Door-to-Door Sales Act for a home improvement contract will be increased to seven business days if the buyer is at least 65 years old.
Home improvement contractors should be aware that each home improvement contract that is covered by the Door-to-Door Sales Act is required to contain a separate Notice of Cancellation form. This notice informs the buyer of the right to cancel the contract and the time limits and procedures for cancellation. House Bill 439 requires certain specific changes to the Notice of Cancellation form and also requires the contractor to obtain a signed written acknowledgement that the buyer has been informed of his or her cancellation rights. Home improvement contractors should make sure that, as of June 1, 2016, the Notice of Cancellation form which they provide to a buyer includes the specific changes required under House Bill 439.
The Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General, will convene a stakeholder workgroup to study issues relating to door-to-door sales of home improvement services. Please check back often as more details concerning the workgroup will soon follow.
Proposed Regulations Currently Open for Public Comment
There are no proposed regulations by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at this time.
To register your comments with the Commission, send your letter to David Finneran, Executive Director, Maryland Home Improvement Commission, 500 N. Calvert Street, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202; call 410-230-6169; e-mail David Finneran; or fax 410-962-8482.