Updated: Jun 1, 2020
Why and when you need a contract for your home improvement.
I regularly represent both consumers and construction professionals in general business and home improvement litigation matters.
Often times, initial disputes between a consumer and contractor pertain to a quality of workmanship issue; however, such disputes can quickly evolve into a statutory compliance matter for a contractor.
In such circumstances, the consumer enjoys many statutory protections and the contractor may have significant exposure/liability.
There are a number of statutes which apply to home improvements under Indiana law; however, this article provides a high-level overview of one of the principal statutes that governs home improvements, the Home Improvement Contract Act (“HICA”) (codified at: I.C. § 24-5-11 et seq.).
The HICA governs any home improvement (defined as any alteration, repair, replacement, reconstruction, or other modification of residential real property) that has a price exceeding $150.00. Accordingly, the HICA’s reach extends to the vast majority of home improvement work between a consumer and contractor. All home improvements governed by the HICA are required to be distilled in a written contract. The HICA sets forth a number of actions the contractor must make regarding executing the contract as well as a number of required contractual provisions.
Prior to beginning work on a consumer’s residential structure, the HICA requires a contractor to obtain all necessary licensing and permitting. Additionally, a contractor must sign the contract prior to providing it to the consumer and provide an executed copy of the contract to the consumer after the consumer signs it.