Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CT guaranty fund repaid $2.7 million to homeowners last year

Connecticut's Department of Consumer Protection repaid 335 state property owners $2,728,365 in 2010 to satisfy unpaid home improvement-related court judgments from the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund.
When planning ahead to the spring 2011 home improvement season, DCP reports homeowners should choose carefully, get referrals from people they trust and always work with contractors who are registered to do home improvement work in Connecticut.

All home improvement contractors and salespersons working in Connecticut are required by state law to register annually with the Department of Consumer Protection and the agency keeps a public roster of licensees. A portion of each registration fee is allocated to the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund, a pool of money administered by DCP which is used to help satisfy an unpaid court judgment to a homeowner.

Consumers may be eligible for up to $15,000 per contract from the fund if they experience a home improvement problem that meets certain criteria. The Guaranty Fund can cover actual damages, court costs and attorneys’ fees as ordered in a court judgment, up to $15,000.

Here are some of the parameters:

• The contractor must have been registered with the Department of Consumer Protection at the time the consumer signed their contract, within two years before the contract was signed OR at the time of the court judgment against the contractor.

• The contract must have been for work on residential property (single or multifamily dwellings of six units or less, or condos or cooperatives).

• The total price of the work involved must have been more than $200.

• The consumer must apply to the fund within two years after receiving the court judgment.

More information and applications are available on the Department of Consumer Protection's website or by calling 1-800-842-2649.

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