File a Complaint - Home Improvement Commission
A complaint may be filed against a contractor, subcontractor or a salesperson. If violations of the Home Improvement Law are found after investigation, regulatory or criminal charges may be filed. There is no monetary award for homeowners in the complaint process. If a licensed contractor was used, the homeowner may be compensated for actual losses through the Guaranty Fund claim process.
TO FILE A GUARANTY FUND CLAIM
There is a form, separate from the complaint form, which must be filed with the Commission for compensation from the Guaranty Fund. The Fund does not apply to subcontractors, salespersons, or unlicensed contractors. A claim must be filed within three years of the date of discovery of loss or damage caused by a licensed contractor.
To obtain a claim form, contact the investigator who is assigned to your complaint.
NOTICE TO GUARANTY FUND CLAIMANTS
- Under the Home Improvement Law, the Claimant has the burden of proof at the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge. This means that it is the responsibility of the Claimant to present the evidence to prove that he/she is entitled to a monetary recovery from the Guaranty Fund.
- The Administrative Law Judge will consider only evidence that is presented at the hearing. The Administrative Law Judge does not have letters photos, bills etc…which the Claimant may have provided to the Commission staff during the investigation of the complaint. If the Claimant wishes the Administrative Law Judge to consider such items, it is the responsibility of the Claimant to introduce them into evidence at the hearing.
- In some cases, as part of its investigation of the complaint, the Commission may have hired an independent expert to inspect the Claimant’s property and prepare a written report. The Claimant should be aware that the Commission’s expert inspector does not appear at the hearing to testify, unless called as a witness by one of the parties to the case. The Claimant should also be aware that "expert" witnesses, such as a professional home inspector, who are called to testify about their professional opinions, are entitled to be compensated for their time. If the Claimant wishes to have the Commission’s expert testify at the hearing, it is the responsibility of the Claimant to contact the expert in advance of the hearing, and make all necessary arrangements with the expert, including arrangements for payment of any fee.
- The Claimant should be aware that, if he/she attempts to introduce a written inspection report into evidence at the hearing, without the expert present to testify, it will be up to the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge whether to admit the report into evidence, if the expert is not present to testify and not subject to cross-examinations, the Administrative Law Judge may give the report less weight than if the expert is present.
Even if the Commission has hired an expert inspector to inspect the Claimant’s property, the Claimant has the right to hire his/her own expert to inspect the property and to testify on the Claimant’s behalf at the hearing.
- How to File a Complaint FAQs
- Guaranty Fund FAQs
- Free Workshops on Filing Claims and the Guaranty Fund Process
- Maryland Home Improvement Commission Complaint Form (Word)
- Report Unlicensed Home Improvement Activity (Word) — Report Contractors Working Without a MHIC License