Another Trap for the Unwary – Building Permits

On this blog we previously discussed what to look for when hiring a home improvement contractor.  But what about after you hire that contractor?  Another trap for the unwary is during the process to obtain the building permit.  Under the Massachusetts Home Improvement Contractor statute, in order to avail yourself of some of the statutory benefits available to homeowners, the contractor must pull the building permit.  Resist any attempt by the contractor to convince you otherwise.  If a contractor insists on the homeowner pulling the permit, this may be a sign that something is not quite right with the contractor.  It may be that the contractor is not licensed, or is uninsured.

If the homeowner, rather than the contractor, pulls the building permit the homeowner is no longer eligible to participate in the Home Improvement Arbitration Program or the guaranty fund.  Both of these programs were set up by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts specifically to assist aggrieved homeowners.  What’s more, by pulling the building permit, the homeowner takes on significant liability for the project and may take on liability for the workers performing the work.

If you’ve done your research you can reduce the risks of being caught off guard by a contractor trying to skirt the rules.