Contractors Must Include This Statement With Any Home Construction
Contract for More Than $3,000
If you are thinking about building a new home or repairing your
existing home, here are some things you should know.
Contractors Are Not Licensed - Buyer Beware!
While there are a great many competent, ethical home contractors
in Maine, it is up to you, the consumer, to find one. Home
contractors are not licensed or regulated by the State of Maine.
The old saying "Buyer Beware" applies. You should also keep in
mind that the lack of state licensing allows the worst contractors
to compete for your business alongside the best. The Attorney
General's Consumer Mediation Program ranks home contractors among
the top three most complained about businesses every year. We
strongly recommend that you ask any contractor you are considering
hiring for several references and that you follow up on them.
It is also a good idea to check with your local building supply
companies or real estate brokers. They will know the dependable
contractors in your area. Although home construction contractors
are not licensed, some building trades are licensed. Plumbers,
electricians, oil burner technicians, and installers of mobile
and modular homes are licensed in Maine. For more information
on these licensed trades, go to www.maine.gov/pfr/pfrhome.htm.
While some towns and cities have adopted building codes and enforced
them, others have not. We recommend that you talk to your town's
code officials before you begin construction.
(You can contact the Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of
Houlton by calling the Town Office at 207-532-7111)
Written Contracts Are Required
For all home construction and home improvement projects over $3,000,
Maine law requires a written contract with a specific provision
that prohibits payment up front of more than one third of the
contract price. When a contractor asks you for any money up front,
make sure that the money is being used to purchase materials for
your project. Ask for receipts and for a lien waiver from subcontractors.
A model home construction contract that meets State law can be
found in Chapter 18 of the Maine
Attorney General's Consumer Law Guide.
Be Careful with Construction Loans
If a lender is financing your construction project, make sure
that you know your lender and that you understand how your loan
proceeds will be disbursed and how subcontractors will be paid.
Home Contractor Complaints Received by the Attorney General
You can find out if a particular contractor has been the subject
of a consumer complaint that the Attorney General attempted to
mediate by contacting the Attorney General's Consumer Protection
Division at 1-800-436-2131 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Better Business Bureau may also have relevant information
on companies. Go to www.bosbbb.org
or call (207) 878-2715. Keep in mind that just because the Attorney
General has accepted a complaint for mediation does not necessarily
mean the consumer was right and the contractor was wrong.
Home Contractors the State Has Sued
In the recent past the State has successfully sued the following
home contractors for poor workmanship or failure to complete jobs:
· State of Maine v. CBS Enterprises (Kimberly Mark Smith and David
· Default Judgment in CBS Enterprises,
· State of Maine v. Frederic Weinschenk d/b/a Ric Weinschenk Builders,
· State of Maine v. Stephen Lunt d/b/a Lakeview Builders, Inc.,
· State of Maine v. Bob Burns d/b/a Better Homes,
· State of Maine v. Albert H. Giandrea d/b/a AG's Home Quality
· State of Maine v. Al Verdone,
· State of Maine v. Mikal W. Tuttle, d/b/a MT Construction, DMI
Industries, Inc., and MT Construction, Inc.
The Androscoggin County District Attorney has obtained a theft
conviction against home contractor Harold Soper. State of Maine
v. Harold Soper. Even when our law suits have been successful,
we have been unable to collect a significant portion of the judgments
because the builders are bankrupt, judgment proof, or have left
the state. We strongly recommend that you research a contractor's
record before you begin any construction project.
Your Home Construction Rights
17 of the Maine Attorney General's Consumer Law Guide explains
your rights when constructing or repairing your home. Chapter
18 of the Consumer Law Guide is a model home construction contract
that meets the statutory requirements for any home construction
contract over $3,000.
As of September 1, 2006 this entire statement must be an addendum
to any home construction contract for more than $3,000, as required
by 10 M.R.S.A. Chapter 219-A. For updates to this warning go to
Article obtained from the Maine AG's Office