When you hire a contractor in New Jersey, you should take the time to find out if they are registered. As of January 1, 2006, if your home improvement contractor is not registered, they are operating illegally per the New Jersey Contractors Regulation Act. If you need help finding a contractor that is registered and legal to work in New Jersey, our NJ structural engineers can help you.

New Jersey Contractor Regulation Act Basics

Any contractor that makes any type of home improvement to the structural or surrounding grounds of a residential building must be registered, according to the New Jersey Contractor Regulation Act. This includes anyone who performs additions, renovations, restorations, modernizing, demolishing and landscaping on or around any type of residence or building that will be used or modified into a residence. To ensure that the contractor you are thinking about hiring is registered, you should check their business name and registration number with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety.

Insurance Requirements for Registered Contractors

Home improvement contractors that are registered must carry certain amounts of insurance in order to remain compliant with the Act. They must have business liability insurance of at least $500,000 and provide proof of that insurance to the homeowner. A properly insured contractor is able to pay for any damages or injuries that occur during the job.

Criminal Conviction Requirements

During the application phase, all criminal convictions must be disclosed, including the date of the conviction and details of rehabilitation. This helps ensure that the homeowner is not hiring an unscrupulous contractor or an unrehabilitated criminal.

Penalties for Falsifying Documents and/or Not Registering

If a home improvement contractor lies on his or her application, the contractor could be subject to fines between $10,000 and $25,000 in addition to the revocation of his or her registration. If the contractor refuses to register or fails to renew his or her registration annually, he or she could be subjected to fines, penalties and the refusal future registration.

Registering as a Home Improvement Contractor

The cost to register as a home improvement contractor is $90, and the registration is valid for one year. The home improvement contractor must fill out either an initial registration form or a reinstatement form in its entirety. This includes listing all business names under which the company does business and any partners that own 10 percent or more of the business. The contractor must also submit forms for all the required insurance provisions and list the policy numbers and dates for which the policies are valid.