Law Office Of Paul DePetris
paul@newjerseylemon.com

Tips For Hiring New Jersey Home Repair Contractors

Read below to learn more about this topic.

Or, to receive a no cost phone consultation about what the Law Office of Paul DePetris might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris at paul@newjerseylemon.com.

The information in this article is only for New Jersey Law Division, Civil Part cases and not for other New Jersey court cases, such as those in New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court!!! Do not use this article if you have a New Jersey Special Civil Court, New Jersey Small Claims Court or New Jersey Chancery Court case!!! Also, no website is a substitute for competent advice from a New Jersey lawyer!

Warning – this article does not necessarily include each and every New Jersey court rule that may apply to your New Jersey case! The Law Office of Paul DePetris does not guarantee that the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website are the latest versions of the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms, that they lack typographical errors or that they have not been amended, repealed or superseded by other federal or state law. The New Jersey Statutes, United States Statutes, New Jersey Administrative Code and Federal Code in this database are not annotated. Accordingly, this database may include laws that: (1) never became operable due to unmet conditions; (2) expired; (3) were repealed or amended; (4) were declared void by a court of law; (5) or are otherwise invalid. Further, effective dates of the laws are not necessarily included in the database. Accordingly, you should not rely upon the statutes, rules, codes, files or forms on this website contained in this database for any purpose and before taking any legal measures, you instead should read all applicable federal and state source law and case law and consult with an attorney for any changes in the laws. Be certain to cross reference all applicable rules before preparing, filing or serving any papers!!! For example, Special Civil Part Rules often cross reference other rules – rules that apply to Special Civil Part Cases as well as to other types of civil cases not being heard in Special Civil Part.

WHY SHOULD I BE CAREFUL WHEN HIRING A NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR OR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR?
New Jersey home improvement contracts and New Jersey home repair contracts can easily cost New Jersey homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, in many New Jersey home repair Consumer Fraud cases, New Jersey homeowners are careless in selecting and hiring their New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor. The following are reasons for taking special care when selecting and hiring your New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor:
• Most New Jersey home improvement contracts and New Jersey home repair contracts violate New Jersey laws and regulations.
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors ignore the New Jersey laws and regulations that they are required to follow when dealing with consumers.
• It is very common for New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors to accept deposits, only to abandon a jobsite before the job is complete.
• The workmanship of many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors is substandard and/or violates municipal code requirements.
• Some New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors live “hand to mouth,” so that they take deposits from you and use them to pay for projects other than yours and mislead you into believing they are using the money you give them to buy materials for your home or to pay for labor being performed on your home.
• It is not uncommon for New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors to let their insurance coverage expire.
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors quote a customer one price, only to increase the bill at a later time, such as in the middle of the project.
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors overcharge for permits or promise but fail to secure permits for the work that they perform for New Jersey homeowners, thereby causing violations of municipal codes and/or New Jersey laws.
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors’ advertisements violate New Jersey laws or regulations.
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors don’t actually perform the work you hire them to do; instead, they hire subcontractors who may or may not be skilled in home improvement work.
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors fail to complete New Jersey home improvement contracts and New Jersey home repair contracts on time, leading to a house that is an unfinished nightmare! Imagine being unable to use your kitchen, laundry room or bathrooms because of an incompetent New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor!
• Many New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors fail to order materials so that the New Jersey home improvement project can’t be completed.
• It is not uncommon for New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors to put a lien on your property for failure to pay their bills.
• Failure to dispute a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor’s bill in timely fashion could result in your having to pay the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor’s bill as well as their attorney’s fees and court costs that they incur to collect it from you.
• For most people, a home is the greatest single investment. It is reckless to endanger your most important investment by hiring an incompetent New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor.

SHOULD I EXPECT THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR OR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR’S INSURANCE TO PROTECT ME FROM THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR OR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR’S MISCONDUCT?
New Jersey law does not force New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors to maintain insurance for all types of claims and insurance companies are unable or unwilling to provide insurance for many types of common claims. Even if the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is insured, the insurance company usually does not reimburse New Jersey homeowners for the following misconduct committed by home repair contractors:
• violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
• breaches of contract
• breaches of warranty
Such claims are often the most common claims brought by consumers against New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors. If your New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor runs away with your money or commits consumer fraud, do not expect their insurance to cover the damages they cause you.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE TO TRY TO DETERMINE IF THE NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR OR NEW JERSEY HOME NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR I WANT TO HIRE IS REPUTABLE?
No amount of research or investigation into the background of a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home New Jersey home improvement contractor shall assure that the one that you hire shall do everything right for you. However, the following are some steps you can take that might reduce the chance of your becoming a victim of home repair fraud:
• Before signing a home repair contract, have an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of New Jersey and who is familiar with the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations and with home improvement contract disputes review the contract. If a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor refuses to give you a copy of the New Jersey home repair contract to review before you sign it, don’t even consider hiring them! A little money spent before you hire a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor may be a great investment and may avoid many headaches later!
• Find out what a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is and is not required to do under New Jersey laws and regulations. For example, all New Jersey home improvement contracts and New Jersey home repair contracts above a certain dollar amount must be in writing. With such knowledge, you may be able to tell if the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is trying to violate New Jersey laws or regulations.
• Before signing any home repair contracts, ask for at least three (3) New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors to give you work estimates for your home improvement project.
• Get copies of New Jersey home repair certificates of insurance from the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor and call the insurance company that issued the New Jersey home repair certificates to confirm with the company that the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor’s insurance coverage has not been cancelled or did not expire.
• If you need to finance the job, seriously consider financing it through a bank or other independent financial institution rather than through the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor.
• Get a list of at least 10 customer references from the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor and call some of the references to confirm that customers are satisfied with the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor’s work. Find out if they were satisfied with all parts of the job and how long the job took to complete.
• Ask to see photographs of other jobs completed by the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor. A good New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor often keeps photo albums of their work. Be sure to ask the addresses of the places that the photos illustrate – a deceptive home repair contractor could show you pictures of jobs that someone else completed.
• Get the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor’s registration number issued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and call the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor hotline (1-800-242-5846) to confirm that the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is in fact registered with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and to find out if other consumers have made complaints about the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor.
• Find out who actually does the work at your home under the contract – is it the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor and his/her employees or does the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor merely hire subcontractors to do all the work? If the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor does use subcontractors, does the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor oversee their work on a daily basis or merely leave them at the jobsite unsupervised?
• Avoid hiring New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors that ask you to sign a statement that says that you will cover the costs of materials and labor if the contractor does not pay. For example, if the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor uses subcontractors, the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor may refuse to pay the subcontractors who shall then seek to hold you responsible for their bills.
• Avoid hiring New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors or subcontractors that require you to give up your rights to jury trials and/or that require you to submit disputes to mediation and/or arbitration. If you end up getting into a dispute and have to submit to mediation and/or arbitration, resolving the dispute could take much longer and cost you much more than if you kept the right to use the court system.
• If your home improvement project requires another licensed/registered/certified/regulated professional or semiprofessional, such as Appraisers, Architects, Burglar Alarm Installers, Electrical Contractors, Engineers, Fire Alarm Installers, Land Surveyors, Landscape Architects, Locksmiths or Plumbers, if they are required to hold a license/certification/registration issued by the State of New Jersey, check to confirm that their licenses/registrations/certifications are up to date and valid.

CHECKLIST FOR USE ONCE YOU HIRE YOUR NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR OR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR
Once you hire a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor, consider following these guidelines:
• Keep a folder of all contracts, change orders, invoices, estimates, materials lists, payment records, photographs, permits, emails, letters and the like.
• Do everything in writing and keep copies of all such writings – all concerns about deadlines being missed, work being substandard, work being incomplete or changes to the job should be in writing. Never enter into an oral contract for New Jersey home improvements!
• Before you sign the New Jersey home repair contractor’s contract, be sure to request a lien waiver from the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor. A lien waiver is a receipt stating that workers and material suppliers will not ask you for money once you pay your New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor.
• Make sure that you do not have to pay in full for the job before it is completed. Instead, demand that New Jersey home repair payments be made in accordance with a performance schedule – that is, as specific stages of the New Jersey home improvement project are completed, payment becomes due.
• Do not sign any New Jersey home repair certificates or acknowledgements of completion before the New Jersey home improvement work is actually completed and inspected by any municipal authorities/code officials.
• Keep records of all New Jersey home repair payments made to the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor. Ideally, you should make New Jersey home repair payments with a traceable source of funds, such as a check or money order and keep copies of all such New Jersey home repair payments. Also, be sure to keep copies of any checks you get back from your bank so that you are able to trace the bank account of the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor (useful if you or your attorney have to sue the contractor and want to recover a judgment from that account).
• Get a written start and end date to the New Jersey home improvement contract.
• Get written guarantees and New Jersey home repair warranties as to all labor and materials to be supplied under the New Jersey home improvement contract.
• Make sure that the New Jersey home improvement contract specifies the name brand and/or an explanation of the types of materials to be used during performance of the New Jersey home improvement contract.
• Find out what a New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is and is not required to do under New Jersey laws and regulations. For example, all New Jersey home improvement contracts and New Jersey home repair contracts above a certain dollar amount must be in writing. With such knowledge, you may be able to tell if the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is trying to violate New Jersey laws or regulations. There is additional information elsewhere on this website about certain laws and/or regulations that New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors must follow.
• Don’t break the law yourself when dealing with the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor. If you do, it could result in any claims for damages you might have against the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor being compromised.
• Beware of New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors that don’t have a street address on their letterhead or contracts – New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors that only list post office boxes instead of street addresses may be suspect. Also, if possible, drive by the street address to confirm that it is legitimate.
• Know your cancellation rights! Many New Jersey home improvement contracts and New Jersey home repair contracts are able to be cancelled within a certain period of time if certain procedures are followed. If you intend to cancel your contract, be sure to consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey who is familiar with the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations and with home improvement contract disputes.
• Before work begins on the New Jersey home improvement project, make sure that the municipality where the New Jersey home is located issued the necessary permits for work to begin.
• If you must apply for permits yourself, make sure that the New Jersey home improvement contractor or New Jersey home repair contractor is identified on the permits as the party performing the New Jersey home improvement project.
• Find out from the municipal government where your home is located the inspections that must occur to ensure compliance with applicable municipal codes.
• If your home improvement job requires the services of an architect, make sure that the architect actually approves/signs the architectural plans.
• If your home improvement job requires the services of a licensed plumber or licensed electrician, make sure that they actually sign/seal their work.
• Review bills immediately after receiving them and raise all objections to charges in writing as soon as possible (preferably within 20 days of the date of the bill so as to avoid having to pay the New Jersey home repair contractor’s bill in full plus their attorney’s fees and costs to collect the bill from you). Keep copies of all such written objections.

WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A DISPUTE WITH MY NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR OR NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR?
• Take photos of any defective workmanship and keep the photos in a safe place in case you need them. If the New Jersey home improvement project is taking longer than promised, take photos of the work at the different stages of completion so you might be able to prove that there were substantial delays in completing the New Jersey home improvement contract.
• Keep a folder of all documents that involve the dispute and the New Jersey home improvement contract, including contracts, change orders, invoices, estimates, materials lists, payment records, photographs, permits, emails, letters and the like. If you are sending letters, send them via both first class and certified mail, RRR and keep all certified mail cards or returned letters.
• Do not wait to preserve your rights! Review bills immediately after receiving them and raise all objections to charges in writing as soon as possible (preferably within 20 days of the date of the bill so as to avoid having to pay the New Jersey home repair contractor’s bill in full plus their attorney’s fees and costs to collect the bill from you). Keep copies of all such written objections.
• There are specific deadlines for all types of lawsuits, called statutes of limitation or statutes of repose. For example, some contract disputes must be filed within 4 years that the dispute first arose or from the date the contract was signed, while other contract disputes must be filed within 6 years of one of those two events. To determine which deadlines apply to your case, consult a licensed New Jersey attorney. Failure to file a lawsuit within the specific deadline may result in your forever giving up all rights to file a lawsuit against the people or businesses who you believe caused you to suffer damages. If your claim involves a government branch or government employee, consult with a licensed New Jersey attorney, since you may have 90 days or less to file a claim notice in writing before you are even able to file a lawsuit.
• Before making any hasty decisions and before threatening legal action, consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey who is familiar with the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the New Jersey Home Improvement Regulations and with home improvement contract disputes. Find out from that attorney what your options are and how the law may affect any decision you may wish to make.

DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT NEW JERSEY HOME REPAIR CONSUMER FRAUD CASES?
Yes. Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
• represented consumers, New Jersey homeowners, home repair contractors and New Jersey home improvement contractors and New Jersey home repair contractors, home inspectors, home buyers, home sellers, real estate brokers and real estate agents in New Jersey disputes.
• appeared in court in New Jersey home repair Consumer Fraud cases involving New Jersey Home Improvement Contract disputes.

DOES THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HAVE EXPERIENCE HANDLING NEW JERSEY CASES?
Yes. Paul DePetris has performed the following tasks:
• handled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey, from Bergen County New Jersey to Cumberland County New Jersey, including representations of individuals, small businesses and large corporations.
• settled New Jersey cases for plaintiffs and defendants across New Jersey.
• reviewed many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• enforced many New Jersey Court settlement agreements.
• provided New Jersey pro se plaintiffs and New Jersey pro se defendants with New Jersey Court legal advice and prepared New Jersey Court legal forms
• prepared and filed many New Jersey Court complaints
• tried New Jersey Court jury trials
• mediated many New Jersey cases
• argued New Jersey Court motions
• handled New Jersey Court proof hearings
• handled New Jersey Court post judgment collection proceedings

Mr. DePetris has appeared before the Superior Court of New Jersey in the following counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

IN WHAT NEW JERSEY COUNTIES WILL THE LAW OFFICE OF PAUL DEPETRIS HANDLE NEW JERSEY CASES?
The Law Office of Paul DePetris offers to handle and help individuals and businesses with New Jersey Court Claims cases in North, Central and Southern New Jersey, including cases in the following New Jersey counties:
• Atlantic County New Jersey Court
• Bergen County New Jersey Court
• Burlington County New Jersey Court
• Camden County New Jersey Court
• Cape May County New Jersey Court
• Cumberland County New Jersey Court
• Essex County New Jersey Court
• Gloucester County New Jersey Court
• Hudson County New Jersey Court
• Mercer County New Jersey Court
• Middlesex County New Jersey Court
• Monmouth County New Jersey Court
• Morris County New Jersey Court
• Ocean County New Jersey Court
• Passaic County New Jersey Court
• Salem County New Jersey Court
• Somerset County New Jersey Court
• Sussex County New Jersey Court
• Union County New Jersey Court
• Warren County New Jersey Court

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO HANDLE MY NEW JERSEY CASE FROM BEGINNING TO END?
In many situations, the Law Office of Paul DePetris offers alternatives to handling New Jersey cases for an hourly fee, such as by offering to handle your New Jersey case up to trial for a fixed fee or to help you handle your New Jersey case by yourself. Such flexible methods may allow you to keep the amount legal fees you spend on your New Jersey case to a fixed sum, while providing you the help you need to handle your New Jersey case. For a no obligation phone consultation about what the Firm might be able to do for you, call Mr. DePetris at 609-714-2020 or send an email to Mr. DePetris.
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