Contentious Contractor Licensing Bill Heading to the VT House
Are Vermont Homeowners and Contractors Ready for Regulation?
On April 4, 2019, the Vermont Senate narrowly approved S. 163. The controversial bill includes provisions for regulation of Vermont’s home improvement contractors. As of this writing, the bill is headed to a House committee for consideration.
S. 163, as introduced, would require Vermont home improvement contractors to:
Comply with a mandatory registration system;
Maintain professional liability insurance in the amount of $300,000 per claim and $1,000,000 aggregate;
Execute a written contract that specifies the method for determining the price of the contract, estimated start and completion dates, scope of work, and the procedure for change orders; and
Limit the amount of a down payment to one-third of the contract price, or the price of materials, whichever is greater.
The Home Builders and Remodeler Association of Northern Vermont generally supports the bill. https://www.homebuildersvt.com/Legislative-Committee-Blog/7257324
The Associated General Contractors - Vermont does not oppose the bill but is seeking revisions because its reach is too broad and could ensnare unknowing material suppliers or subcontractors who do jobs worth more than the bills’ threshold of $2,000. https://www.agcvt.org/legislative-update-4/
Meanwhile, the Vermont Attorney General’s office is overwhelmed with homeowner claims.
Whether you are for or against state regulation of home improvement contractors, this bill raises important questions for all parties to a construction contract.
A smart contract anticipating the common pitfalls likely to arise during construction can mitigate issues before relationships are soured – no matter the scale of the project.
If you have questions about drafting or interpreting a contract for your project, please do not hesitate to contact us.