Protection for Homeowners from unscrupulous contractors

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Legislation sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem) that would revise the “Contractors’ Registration Act” to require state-issued identification badges for home improvement contractors was signed into law on August 19, 2013.

“As we continue to recover from the aftermath of Sandy, New Jerseyans must be on the look out for those who would look to take advantage of the situation for their own personal benefit,” said Sweeney. “By requiring a picture ID, we are adding another layer of protection for storm victims against fraud.”

The law, S2363, requires a home improvement contractor to wear a state-issued identification badge whenever the contractor is performing, engaging, or attempting to engage, in selling home improvements. They are required to have the badge in their possession while performing home improvements. The badge will issued by the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs within the Department of Law and Public Safety. It will include a color photograph of the contractor’s face, the contractor’s name, the contractor’s registration number, and the name of the contractor’s business. If a contractor’s license is suspended he / she will have to surrender the badge and it will be a fourth degree crime to use a badge not properly authorized by the state.

The law is intended to help consumers avoid fraud, particularly in light of Hurricane Sandy. The storm devastated over 300,000 homes in New Jersey, and 1,200 new applications for contractor registration have been submitted to the Division of Consumer Affairs, with many applicants coming from other states. In the aftermath of Sandy, New Jersey residents are even more vulnerable to unscrupulous, fly-by-night contractors who take advantage of residents in need of immediate home repairs.

This act shall take effect on the 365th day following the date of enactment which was August 19, 2013.