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DLLR News

 

Maryland Department of Labor Urges Homeowners to Use Licensed Contractors for Earthquake Repairs

 

BALTIMORE, MD (August 25, 2011) – Tuesday’s earthquake caused cracks in foundations and walls and damage to patios, chimneys and concrete paths. Homeowners across the state are taking steps to quickly repair damage. As families assess the damage and look to hire contractors to help complete the work, the Maryland Department of Labor urges all Maryland homeowners to use licensed contractors to protect themselves and their homes.

The Maryland Home Improvement Law requires contractors, subcontractors and salespeople to hold a current Maryland Home Improvement Commission license in order to solicit or perform home improvement services in the state. The Maryland Home Improvement Commission operates under the authority of the Maryland Labor Department’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

“The earthquake earlier this week and the aftershocks we’ve felt over the last 48 hours have caused damage in some Maryland homes. While few, if any, Maryland residents expected a quake, many of our neighbors must now fix damaged walls, patios and foundations,” said Maryland Labor Secretary Alexander M. Sanchez. “I strongly urge those Marylanders whose homes were damaged by the quake to avoid hiring any ‘Chuck with a Truck.’ Get several estimates, only pay upon completion of the work and check your contractors’ licenses.”

“Too often, unlicensed contractors arrive after a major storm or a natural disaster with disingenuous offers to help,” said Maryland Commissioner for Occupational and Professional Licensing Stanley J. Botts. “The Maryland Home Improvement Commission stands up for homeowners and protects consumers from predatory contractors.”

The Maryland Home Improvement Guaranty Fund offers homeowners protection from shoddy work and compensates homeowners who suffer economic damages due to the work of a licensed contractor. The fund only protects homeowners who use licensed contractors. It is unlawful for any home improvement contractor, electrician, plumber or HVACR contractor to work in Maryland without a license. Penalties include criminal fines or imprisonment. Consumers can check on contractors’ licensing statuses and complaint histories by calling the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at 410.230.6309 or visiting our website.

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation protects and empowers Marylanders by safeguarding workers, protecting consumers, providing a safety net and cultivating a thriving workforce that can meet the demands of Maryland’s dynamic economy. Follow DLLR on Twitter (@MD_DLLR) and Facebook.