Contractors in Trouble

Attorneys frequently receive questions from contractors and homeowners regarding remodeling projects. Contractors can get into trouble if they don’t pay close attention to the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Wisconsin law requires any contractor who makes improvements to an existing home and takes any payment before the project is complete to comply with the Home Improvement Practices Act, Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter 110. This Code requires a written contract under most circumstances, and also provides that if the contractor fails to comply, the homeowner is entitled to double damages and actual attorneys fees. The double damages penalty applies to all of a homeowner’s damages and not only those directly attributable to violations of the Code. Given the steep penalties to contractors, it is important for contractors to learn these requirements before working on a home improvement project for an existing residence. There are specific requirements as to what the contract must contain. For example, the contract must specifically describe the project and the materials to be used. It must outline the total price to be paid, and provide specific start and completion dates for the work. If you have questions about whether your contract complies with the Code, call Mara Spring at 262-728-0700.

This blog entry was prepared by Mara C. Spring, partner, Wassel, Harvey & Schuk, LLP. It does not constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute legal authority.

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