By Attorney Conor Grealish
With the weather becoming warmer in Illinois, many homeowners are looking to make repairs or improvements to their homes. However, many are fearful that they may be subject to a scam or that the contractor they hire takes their down payment and is never seen again. Before hiring any contractor to perform home repairs, it is important for Illinois homeowners to know their rights. Luckily, The Home Repair and Remodeling Act (the “Act”), 815 ILCS 513/1, outlines what homeowners should know and demand from their contractors before they sign any contract for home repairs.
The Act was passed with the intent to improve communications between consumers and contractors and also promote fair and honest business practices within Illinois. One of the best ways to ensure clear communications is to get everything in writing. Under the Act, any home repair or remodeling work over $1,000 must be in writing. A contractor who does not provide a written contract or says that it is unnecessary should be an immediate red flag for the homeowner and she should look elsewhere. The contract must contain specific information about the work such as: (a) the business name and address of the contractor; (b) list the parts and materials that they reasonable expect to use to complete the project; (c) schedule of payments, including the down payment; and (d) the total cost of the project. If the contract does not have these written terms, the homeowner should ask that they are included or seek another contractor if they refuse.
Another important situation that the Act addresses are contractors who go door-to-door in an attempt to get business. If a homeowner signs a contract at her home, she has three business to cancel the contract for any reason. The Act provides additional protections for the elderly since they are often targeted by unscrupulous contractors. For any person over the age of 65 who purchases home repair and remodeling services from an uninvited contractor at their home may cancel the contract within 15 full business days.
To avoid any type of scam, the homeowner should due her due diligence and attempt to gather as much information about the contractor before they sign any contract. However, even reputable home repair contractors fail to follow the Act and attempt to take advantage of innocent homeowners simply wanting to improve their living space. That's where CTM Legal Group can help. If you feel that a contractor is taking advantage of you when it comes to your home repairs, please call CTM Legal Group and we can help you with your contractor problems.