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Licensing/Frequently Asked Questions on Obtaining a Home Improvement License

Frequently Asked Questions on Obtaining a Home Improvement License

 

1.      Who must be licensed?

·         Contractors who perform remodeling on RESIDENTIAL homes in Nassau County.

2.      Do commercial contractors need a license?

·         No. Anyone who works only on COMMERCIAL buildings does NOT need a license.

3.      Who else doesn't need a license?

·         Employees of contractors

·         Decorators

·         Plumbers, electricians, architects, professional engineers , or anyone required by state or local law to obtain a "standard of competency" working soley in the field in which they are licensed.

4.      Do I need insurance to obtain a home improvement license?

·         Yes. You must furnish certificates of liability and property damage and workers compensation to cover employees.

5.      Must I post a bond?

·         Under certain circumstances, you MAY be required to provide a bond conditioned upon the assurance that you will comply with the law.

6.      How old must I be to obtain a license?

·         You must be 18 years of age or older.

7.      For how long are licenses issued?

·         All licenses are issued for a period of two years unless suspended or revoked.

8.      What is the cost of a home improvement license?

·         You must pay a fee of $500 for a 2 year license, plus a one-time fee of $50 into the restitution fund.

9.      What else must I do to obtain a home improvement license?

·         You must be able to prove that you are of good moral character and financial responsibility.

·         You must be able to prove that you are the real owner and possess title to the business.

·         You must maintain an actual establishment at a definite location within N.Y.S.

10.  If my company is located out of N.Y.S. but I use a telephone answering service within New York, is that sufficient?

·         No. A telephone answering service is NOT considered a location. You MUST have bona fide office or shop in this state.

11.  May I start work once I apply for a license?

·         No. You must wait until you are approved and receive the license.

12.  May I advertise once I apply for a license?

·         No. You must wait until you are approved and receive the license.

13.  How do I renew my license?

·         Any license, which has not been suspended or revoked, may be renewed for an additional period of two years from its expiration date upon filling out a renewal form and paying a renewal fee of $500.

14.  What if I am late with my renewal?

·         A $75 late fee will be charged to any renewal filed between 15 and 60 days after expiration.

15.  What if it is later than 60 days?

·         Any renewal filed between 60 days and one year after expiration will result in a lapse on the record (in addition to late fee). After one year, you must reapply for a new license and new number.

16.  What is the penalty for working without a license?

·         Working without a license is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5000 and/or 1 year in jail as well as seizure of vehicles and tools.

17.  May I transfer my license to another contractor?

·         No. The license may not be lent out or transferred.

18.  Must I display my license?

·         Yes. It must be conspicuously displayed in your business and a copy must be in each vehicle.

19.  What if I maintain more than one office in Nassau County?

·         A SUPPLEMENTARY license will be issued for each additional place of business in Nassau. The fee is $100.00 for each supplemental license.

20.  What if I misplace my license?

·         A DUPLICATE license will be issued. There is a $50 fee for each duplicate license.

21.  What is a TEMPORARY LICENSE?

·         If you have a history of complaints or problems, the Office MAY issue you a TEMPORARY license until the situation is resolved or the information verified. The TEMPORARY license will automatically expire when the office either issues or refuses to issue a regular license.

22.  If my company changes name, address, ownership or management, must I notify the Office of Consumer Affairs?

·         Yes. Failure to do so is a VIOLATION. It is ALSO a VIOLATION to do business in a name other than the one in which you are licensed.

23.  Am I responsible for getting permits before starting work on a house?

·         Although you do not physically have to obtain the permits, you must be sure that all proper permits have been obtained before you start work. Any VIOLATION of a municipal building sanitary, or health code is prohibited.

24.  Am I permitted to offer to pay a loan as a way to persuade a homeowner to enter into a home improvement- contract?

·         No. This is a VIOLATION of law.

25.  Does the home improvement law regulate my advertising?

·         Yes. Any substantial misrepresentation or false promises in trying to influence a consumer to enter into a contract is a VIOLATION. This includes false, deceptive, and misleading advertising.

26.  What else is prohibited?

·         Failure to perform and complete the job --under contract.

·         Any fraud involving the contact or any other document relating to the home improvement transaction.

27.  If I fail to resolve a valid complaint can I be fined or my license suspended or revoked?

·         Yes. This also includes failure to complete a job as specified in the contract.

28.  If I have my license suspended or revoked in another jurisdiction, what must I do?

·         You must report this to the Nassau Office of Consumer Affairs within ten days. Upon notification, the office of Consumer Affairs may order a hearing to determine the continued validity of your license. Failure to report within ten days is an IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION.

29.  For what other actions can I be fined or have my license denied, revoked, or suspended?

·         Willful manipulation of assets or accounts.

·         Fraud or bribery in securing a license.

·         Making of a false statement in applying for a license

·         Failure to display license as required by law.

·         If you are not financially responsible or you or your management are not of good character.

30.  What is a contract?

·         A contract is an agreement between a contractor and a homeowner for home improvement work and includes all labor, services, and materials to be furnished.

31.  What must be included in the contract?

·         Contractor's name, address, phone number and license number

·         The name of any salesperson involved in the transaction

·         The completion date

·         A notice of the consumer's right to cancel. (If signed away from the contractor's principal place of business.)

32.  Must I complete the work by the date in the contract?

·         Work must be completed no later than 30 days after completion date.

33.  Must I furnish the homeowner with a separate Notice of Cancellation?

·         Yes. This information must be in ten point BOLD FACED type and must include the date of the contract as well as a statement informing the consumer of his/her right to cancel without penalty within three business days from the date. It must also include a clause that the contractor may not begin work or deliver goods prior to three days from the signing of this contract unless the consumer signs and dates a personal statement expressly acknowledging and waiving the right to cancel.

34.  What is the restitution fund?

·         This fund is used to compensate homeowners who have obtained final legal judgments or final awards in arbitration against a LICENSED CONTRACTOR ONLY and have been unable to collect. You must file a complaint with OCA pr ior to filing in court.

35.  If there is a claim against me pending with the Home Improvement Restitution Fund, can I get my license renewed?

·         NO. It will not be reissued until you have paid back any moneys paid out by the fund and you have satisfied any other requirements.

36.  What law governs home improvement contractors in Nassau County?

·         Article I Local Law 6-1970 of the Nassau County Code governs home improvement contractors.

37.  What is the procedure for obtaining a home improvement license?

·         You may call 571-3871 and request that an application be sent to you. You may not return the completed application by mail. Limited Information: Please see Local Law 6-1970 for complete law and all the rules and regulations.