DLLR News

 

Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Warns Homeowners Affected by Hurricane Sandy to Hire Only MHIC Licensed Home Improvement Contractors

 

BALTIMORE (October 31, 2012) -- Leonard Howie, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation warns homeowners, whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy, to be very careful in selecting home improvement contractors to make repairs. Unlicensed contractors and scam artists may try to take advantage of distraught homeowners anxious to complete repairs as soon as possible.

“Scam artists often follow damaging storms. Don’t be fooled by an unlicensed contractor who offers to do a job at a lower price than a licensed contractor,” cautioned Secretary Howie. “It may seem like a great deal at first, but it may cost much more money in the end to repair shoddy work or to pay another contractor to complete the work if the unlicensed contractor takes your money and never returns.”

Homeowners who use Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) licensed contractors are protected by the Home Improvement Law and are eligible for coverage by the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund. The Guaranty Fund provides homeowners with up to $20,000 for losses caused by poor or incomplete work by MHIC licensed contractors.

MHIC offers these guidelines to assist consumers in protecting themselves and their homes:

  1. Only hire licensed MHIC contractors.
     
  2. Contact MHIC to check on the contractor’s complaint history.
     
  3. Obtain estimates and references from several licensed contractors.
     
  4. Be sure to check references.
     
  5. Always get a written contract and pay no money before the contract is signed.
     
  6. Once the contract is signed, pay no more than one-third of the contract price as a deposit.
     
  7. If a building permit is required, make sure the contractor shows you the permit before work is started.
     
  8. Be sure to get a copy of the contractor’s current liability insurance certificate.

For more information about the MHIC and the home improvement industry in Maryland, contact the MHIC at 410-230-6309 or toll free at 888-218-5925 or visit our website.

Maryland Department of Labor Services Available to Maryland Residents Affected By Hurricane Sandy

Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing

Maryland Home Improvement Commission – 410-230-6309, e-mail: mhic@dllr.state.md.us

  • Urges homeowners to hire only licensed home improvement contractors;
     
  • Homeowners may verify that contractor has current MHIC license and check on complaint history & disciplinary actions;
     
  • Only homeowners who hire licensed contractors are protected by the Guaranty Fund.

Board of Plumbing – 410-230-6231, e-mail: plumbing@dllr.state.md.us

  • Urges property owners to hire only individuals who have a master plumbing or gas fitters license and who are insured to work;
     
  • Property owners may contact the Board to verify that the individual holds a current Masters license and a certificate of insurance.

Board of Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors (HVACR) – 410-230-6231, e-mail: hvacr@dllr.state.md.us

  • Urges property owners to hire only individuals who have a master HVACR license and who are insured to work in the State;
     
  • Property owners may contact the Board to verify that the individual holds a current Masters license and a certificate of insurance.

Board of Master Electricians - 410-230-6231, e-mail: electric@dllr.state.md.us

  • Urges property owners to contact the County Electric Board to verify that the individual is licensed prior to hiring an electrician.
     
  • Individual providing electrical services must hold a license issued by the local jurisdiction where the work is performed.

Lost Your Occupational or Professional License?

If your occupational or professional license was lost or destroyed, or if you need to change your address, as a result of the Hurricane, please call the Division for a free replacement license at 410-230-6240 or send an email to hcarr@dllr.state.md.us.

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.