Originally Posted By: rbracklow
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Here is some interesting info on New Jersey’s Home Building Regulations!!
New Jersey continues to get tough with building contractors
Other states continue to pass bills to protect builders while New Jersey cracks down
By Janet Ahmad
National president of HomeOwners for Better Building
For the past year New Jerseys Consumer Affairs has been under extensive scrutiny and investigation for ineffective regulation of builders. The New Jersey State Warranty was the only system of its kind until the Texas legislature last year passed the same type of bill, ironically at the very time the New Jersey law was under fire.
A flood of homeowner complaints has prompted New Jersey state officials to hold hearings that question the failure of the State Warranty to protect homebuyers. Recent exposure of corruption and indictments of state officials has legislators considering extensive reforms to better protect consumers.
Meanwhile, for the past year and a half the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has been busy lobbying every state in the nation for passage of a ?Builders Right to Cure? bill designed to protect builders from being sued for defectively built homes. Texas was the first state to pass this type bill in the 1990?s and has become the model state to protect builders by providing a lengthy, costly and burdensome process for homebuyers stuck with defective homes. While homeowners in Texas are calling for a repeal of builder protection laws, NAHB has been resourceful at lobbying for the passage of bills to protect fraudulent building practices and bad builders across the country.
The New Jersey crackdown and reform measures to protect homebuyers are admirable and continue to get high marks as the issue dominates the news. HomeOwners for Better Building and other similar consumer groups will continue to keep a watchful eye on New Jersey as it seeks to lead the nation to protect homebuyers from the most serious, widespread consumer fraud issue in the nation.
Bill tightens regulation of home-repair contractors
?Consumer affairs officials said government action is long overdue. There were 348 complaints filed against home-repair contractors in Burlington County last year, said Renee Borstad, county director of consumer affairs? To register, most contractors would need a minimum of $500,000 in general liability insurance and disclose any serious criminal convictions. The registration could be revoked or suspended if a contractor is found guilty of fraud or other serious crime.?
HomeOwners for Better Building
San Antonio, Texas
Bill tightens regulation of home-repair contractors
By DAVID LEVINSKY
Burlington County Times
Homeowners in New Jersey would get new protection from unscrupulous or incompetent contractors under a bill awaiting the governor's signature.
However, some contractors and repairmen say the law is unnecessary and the new fees and insurance requirements will drive up costs or force small operators out of business.
"Any fee is going to be passed on to consumers," said Richard Day, a Pemberton Township-based handyman. "This is just one more thing that will drive up costs so that a homeowner won't have the option of hiring the guy from down the road."
Supporters counter the bill would eliminate repairmen who take money and deliver incomplete or shoddy work. Others favor the measure because it would rid the state of a hodgepodge of local regulations that now govern residential repairs.
Consumer affairs officials said government action is long overdue. There were 348 complaints filed against home-repair contractors in Burlington County last year, said Renee Borstad, county director of consumer affairs.
"The majority of the cases we investigate involve (home contractors) and it seems to be getting worse," Borstad said. "People don't know they can call us for a three-year history of any contractor. We'll tell them if there's been any complaints about them."
The bill passed the Senate on Monday by a vote of 24 to 11. It would require all home-improvement contractors to register annually with the state Division of Consumer Affairs before performing home repairs or renovations in New Jersey.
To register, most contractors would need a minimum of $500,000 in general liability insurance and disclose any serious criminal convictions. The registration could be revoked or suspended if a contractor is found guilty of fraud or other serious crime.
State officials said a registration fee would be charged. The amount has not yet been determined.
Large home improvement stores, such as Sears, Home Depot and Lowe's, or contractors with a net worth more than $50 million, would be exempt from the insurance requirement. Plumbers and electricians would be exempt from all requirements under the bill because they already are regulated by the state.
The bill would also require written contracts for jobs exceeding $500. A customer would have three days to cancel the contract for any reason.
The Builders League of South Jersey supports the bill because it would provide a uniform process in all municipalities.
"Currently, registration (for contractors) is done on a town-by-town basis and the requirements are different depending on where you're doing work," said Rich Van Olsten of the Builders League of South Jersey "This would streamline things and make it easier for them to work across South Jersey or the state."
According to Borstad, the municipalities of Medford, Burlington City, Pemberton Township, Willingboro and Cinnaminson have varying ordinances requiring contractors to register with town clerks, post bonds, or show proof of insurance before making home repairs or renovations.
Evesham contractor John DeMeo said the law would assist most contractors as long as the state fee isn't exorbitant. He said most should be able to afford additional insurance required by the measure.
Day said the bill represents unwanted government interference. "If a homeowner wants to know if I have insurance, all he needs to do is ask me," he said.
Borstad also questioned some points of the bill, among them the consumer cancellation clause and the exemption for large improvement stores which, she said, often use subcontractors to perform home repairs.
"It should be the same for everyone," she said.
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