KIYC: Contractors now required to be licensed in the state of New Jersey
New Jersey residents will soon have additional protection from predatory home improvement contractors, under a new law signed this week. The law will require contractors to be state licensed, and not merely to register with the state. The bill’s sponsor spoke about its potential impact with Kane in Your Corner.
For 10 years after Superstorm Sandy, Kane In Your Corner documented the plight of some Sandy survivors, like Jim and Carol Ferraioli. Their contractor took $64,000 to elevate their home, then walked off the job with the house still in the air. It wound up being a total loss.
The Ferraiolis were among hundreds of Sandy survivors to report contractor fraud. Sen. Robert Singer (R – Lakewood) says those survivors were foremost in his mind when he wrote a bill requiring home improvement and home elevation contractors to be state-licensed. Gov. Phil Murphy signed it into law this week.
“We just want to make sure that when you hire people to do a job, they’re qualified to do it, and they do the job,” Singer says.
Singer’s legislation requires home improvement and elevation contractors to be licensed by the state. To qualify for a license, a contractor would need two years of experience in the field, either working on their own or under the supervision of others. And like other licensed professionals, contractors will be overseen by a board, to be created by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, that has the power to revoke their license. Once the board is created, the bill’s protections will be phased in over two years.
Singer says he believes that will stop disreputable contractors from simply going out of business and then reopening under a new name.
“If your license had been lifted, because you're a bad actor, you won't get licensed again,” Singer says.