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Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection

The Highlands Borough Department of Buildings & Housing is always actively looking out for the consumer. We do this by confirming contractor licensing requirements, ensure compliance with licensing laws and prior approvals, checking for signatures and properly completed forms, and publishing documents throughout our web pages that aid Applicants in the proper completion of required forms. But due diligence ultimately rests with the Consumer. Check out our Building Department FAQ's for more questions on the subject and keep in mind the items below.  

✔ Home Improvement Contractors offering residential home improvement services are required by law to be registered with the State of New Jersey. Electrical, Plumbing, and Mechanical Contractors are required to be licensed to practice their trade. You can verify that the contractors you hire are appropriately registered or licensed by clicking here.   

✔ Under the provisions of the Home Improvement Act, any contract for home improvement services in excess of $500 must be in writing. Furthermore, the written agreement must include the items listed below. 

  1. The legal name, address and state registration number of the contractor, as well as any subcontractors
  2. When the work will start, as well as a projected completion date
  3. A full and accurate description of all work to be done and all services to be provided
  4. The full amount that the homeowner will be charged for all services and materials, including any potential finance charges
  5. A full description of all supplies and materials the contractor anticipates using to complete the project
  6. A description of any type of security interest the contractor will take regarding the payment for home improvement services
  7. Any guarantee that the contractor offers regarding the services provided
  8. The contractor must advise the homeowner of the right to cancel the contract any time within three days of signing. 
  9. The contractor must also give the homeowner a copy of his or her general liability insurance policy.

For more information on the regulations and laws governing these contracts you can visit the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Laws & Regulations Page.

♦ Homeowners hiring a contractor should require that the contractor obtain all necessary construction permits prior to the start of work. The Homeowner should NOT represent that they are doing the work when it is the contractor actually performing the construction. See IMPORTANT NOTICE ON HOMEOWNERS COMPLETING THEIR OWN PERMITS.

♦ Final payment to the contractor is not due until ALL FINAL INSPECTIONS PASS.

♦ For more information see Hiring Home Improvement Contractors published by the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs or visit their web site at