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New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Registration Rules

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NEW JERSEY HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION RULES

TITLE 13. LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
CHAPTER 45A. ADMINISTRATIVE RULES OF THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SUBCHAPTER 17. HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION
§ 13:45A-17.1 Purpose and scope
(a) The purpose of the rules in this subchapter is to implement the provisions of the Consumer
Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq. as amended by P.L. 2004, c.16 (N.J.S.A. 56:8-136 et seq.) by
providing procedures for the regulation of home improvement contractors and establishing standards
to facilitate enforcement of the requirements of the Act. The rules establish the Division's
registration procedures for those persons who fall under the requirements of this law.
(b) These rules shall apply to home improvement contractors in this State unless otherwise exempt
under N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.4.
§ 13:45A-17.2 Definitions
The following words and terms, as used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings,
unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Advertise" means to communicate to the public by means of any print, electronic or any other
media, including, but not limited to, newspapers, magazines, periodicals, journals, circulars, flyers,
business cards, signs, radio, telephone, facsimile machine, television, computer or the Internet.
"Advertise" includes having a person's name in a classified advertisement or directory in this State
under any classification of home improvement as defined in this section but does not include simple
residential alphabetical listings in standard telephone directories.
"Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
"Division" means the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
"Employee" means employee as defined in N.J.A.C. 18:35-7.1.
"Home improvement" means the remodeling, altering, painting, repairing, renovating, restoring,
moving, demolishing, or modernizing of residential or noncommercial property or the making
of additions thereto, and includes, but is not limited to, the construction, installation, replacement,
improvement, or repair of driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, patios, landscaping,
fences, porches, windows, doors, cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements and basement
waterproofing, fire protection devices, security protection devices, central heating and air
conditioning equipment, water softeners, heaters, and purifiers, solar heating or water systems,
insulation installation, siding, wall-to-wall carpeting or attached or inlaid floor coverings, and other
changes, repairs, or improvements made in or on, attached to or forming a part of the residential
or noncommercial property, but does not include the construction of a new residence. The term extends
to the conversion of existing commercial structures into residential or noncommercial property
and includes any of the above activities performed under emergency conditions.
"Home improvement contract" means an oral or written agreement for the performance of a
home improvement between a contractor and an owner of residential or noncommercial property,
or a contractor and a tenant or lessee of residential or noncommercial property, if the tenant or
lessee is to be obligated for the payment of home improvements made in, to, or upon such property,
and includes all agreements under which the contractor is to perform labor or render services
for home improvements, or furnish materials in connection therewith.
"Home improvement contractor" or "contractor" means a person engaged in the business of
making or selling home improvements and includes corporations, partnerships, associations and
any other form of business organization or entity, and their officers, representatives, agents and
employees.
"Residential or non-commercial property" means a structure used, in whole or in substantial
part, as a home or place of residence by any natural person, whether or not a single or multi-unit
structure, and that part of the lot or site on which it is situated and which is devoted to the residential
use of the structure, and includes all appurtenant structures.
§ 13:45A-17.3 Registration required
(a) On or after December 31, 2005, unless exempt under N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.4:
1. No person shall engage in the business of making or selling home improvements in this
State unless registered with the Division in accordance with this subchapter; and
2. No person shall advertise indicating that the person is a contractor in this State unless the
person is registered with the Division in accordance with this subchapter.
(b) Unless exempt under N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.4, contractors hired by other contractors to make or
sell any home improvements shall register with the Division in accordance with this subchapter.
(c) Officers and employees of a registered home improvement contractor shall not be required to
register separately from the registered business entity provided that the officers and employees
sell or make home improvements solely within their respective scopes of performance for that registered
business entity.
(d) Officers and employees of a home improvement contractor that is exempt under N.J.A.C.
13:45A-17.4 shall not be required to register provided that the officers and employees sell or make
home improvements solely within their respective scopes of performance for that exempt business
entity.
§ 13:45A-17.4 Exemptions
(a) The following persons are exempt from the registration requirements of this subchapter:
1. Any person registered pursuant to "the New Home Warranty and Builders' Registration Act,"
P.L. 1977, c.467 (N.J.S.A. 46:3B-1 et seq.), but only in conjunction with the building of a
new home as defined in N.J.A.C. 5:25-1.3;
2. Any person performing a home improvement upon a residential or non-commercial property
owned by that person, or by the person's family;
3. Any person performing a home improvement upon a residential or non-commercial property
owned by a bona fide charity or other non-profit organization;
4. Any person regulated by the State as an architect, professional engineer, landscape architect,
land surveyor, electrical contractor, master plumber, locksmith, burglar alarm business,
fire alarm business, or any other person in any other related profession requiring registration,
certification, or licensure by the State, who is acting within the scope of practice of
that profession;
5. Any person employed by a community association or cooperative corporation who is making
home improvements within the person's scope of employment at the residential or noncommercial
property that is owned or leased by the community association or cooperative
corporation;
6. Any public utility as defined under N.J.S.A. 48:2-13;
7. Any person licensed as a home financing agency, a home repair contractor or a home repair
salesman pursuant to N.J.S.A. 17:16C-77, provided that the person is acting within the
scope of such license; and
8. Any home improvement retailer with a net worth of more than $50,000,000 or any employee
of such home improvement retailer who is making or selling such home improvements
within the person's scope of employment of the home improvement retailer.
§ 13:45A-17.5 Initial and renewal applications
(a) Each home improvement contractor required to be registered under this subchapter shall initially
register with the Division by submitting the following on forms provided by the Director:
1. The name and street address of each place of business of the home improvement contractor
and any fictitious or trade name to be used by the home improvement contractor;
2. The type of business organization;
3. The name, residence and business street address of each officer, director, principal and person
with an ownership interest of 10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor
business, including the percentage of ownership held;
4. The name and number of any professional or occupational license, certificate or registration
issued by this State or any other governmental entity to any officer, director, principal or
person with an ownership interest of 10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor
business;
5. Whether the entity, any officer, director, principal or person with an ownership interest of
10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor business has been adjudged liable
in an administrative or civil action involving any of the situations in (a)5i through vi below.
For the purposes of this paragraph, a judgment of liability in an administrative or civil action
shall include, but not be limited to, any finding or admission that the entity, officer, director,
principal or person with an ownership interest of 10 percent or more in the home improvement
contractor business engaged in an unlawful practice or practices related to any of the
named situations in (a)5i through vi below regardless of whether that finding was made in
the context of an injunction, a proceeding resulting in the denial, suspension or revocation
of a license, certification or registration, consented to in an assurance of voluntary compliance
or any similar order or legal agreement with any State or Federal agency. As described
above, this paragraph covers the following situations:
i. Obtained any registration, certification or license by fraud, deception or misrepresentation;
ii. Engaged in the use or employment of dishonesty, fraud, deception, misrepresentation,
false promise or false pretense;
iii. Engaged in gross negligence, gross malpractice or gross incompetence;
iv. Engaged in acts of negligence, malpractice or incompetence involving selling or making a
home improvement; and
v. Engaged in professional or occupational misconduct;
6. Whether the entity, any officer, director, principal or person with an ownership interest of
10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor business has been convicted of
any crime involving moral turpitude or any crime relating adversely to selling or making
home improvements. For the purpose of this paragraph, a plea of guilty, non vult, nolo contendere
or any other such disposition of alleged criminal activity shall be deemed a conviction;
7. Whether the entity, any officer, director, principal or person with an ownership interest of
10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor business has had their authority to
engage in the activity regulated by the Director revoked or suspended by any other state,
agency or authority;
8. Whether the entity, any officer, director, principal or person with an ownership interest of
10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor business has violated or failed to
comply with the provisions of any act, regulation or order administered or issued by the Director;
9. Whether the entity, any officer, director, principal or person with an ownership interest of
10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor business believes they are unable
to meet the requirements of the Contractors' Registration Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-136 et seq. or
rule in this subchapter for medical or any other good cause to the detriment of the public's
health, safety and welfare; and
10. The name and street address of an agent in the State of New Jersey for service of process.
(b) In addition to the information required in (a) above, the applicant shall include the following
with the initial application:
1. A properly completed disclosure statement that complies with the requirements of N.J.A.C.
13:45A-17.6;
2. Proof of the home improvement contractor's commercial general liability insurance policy in
a minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence that complies with the requirements of
N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.12; and
3. The initial registration fee in the amount specified in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.14.
(c) A registered home improvement contractor shall include the following with the annual renewal
application:
1. A completed renewal application that will be on a form specified by the Director;
2. Proof of the home improvement contractor's commercial general liability insurance policy in
a minimum amount of $500,000 per occurrence that complies with the requirements of
N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.12;
3. The renewal registration fee in the amount specified in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.14; and
4. If the completed renewal application is received by the Division after the renewal application's
due date as specified on the renewal application, the late fee in the amount specified
in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.14.
§ 13:45A-17.6 Disclosure statement
(a) Each applicant shall file a disclosure statement with the Director stating whether it or any of its
officers, directors, principals or persons with an ownership interest of 10 percent or more in the
home improvement contractor business has been convicted of any violations of the following provisions
of the "New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice," Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, or the
equivalent under the laws of any other jurisdiction:
1. Any crime of the first degree;
2. Any crime which is a second or third degree crime and is a violation of chapter 20 or 21 of
Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; or
3. Any other crime which is a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 or 2C:5-2 (conspiracy), N.J.S.A.
2C:11-2 (criminal homicide), N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3 (murder), N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4 (manslaughter),
N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 (assault), N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3 (terroristic threats), N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1 (kidnapping),
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 (sexual assault), subsection a. or b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1 (arson and
related offenses), subsection a. or b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:17-2 (causing or risking widespread injury
or damage), N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 (robbery), N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2 (burglary), N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4
(theft by deception), N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5 (theft by extortion), N.J.S.A. 2C:20-7 (receiving stolen
property), N.J.S.A. 2C:20-9 (theft by failure to make required disposition of property received),
N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2 (criminal simulation), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1 (fraud relating to
driver's license or other document issued by governmental agency to verify identity or age;
simulation), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.3 (fraud relating to motor vehicle insurance identification
card; production or sale), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-3 (frauds relating to public records and recordable
instruments), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-4 (falsifying or tampering with records), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6
(fraud relating to credit cards), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-7 (deceptive business practices), N.J.S.A.
2C:21-12 (defrauding secured creditors), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-14 (receiving deposits in a failing
financial institution), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-15 (misapplication of entrusted property and property
of government of financial institution), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-19 (wrongful credit practices and related
offenses), N.J.S.A. 2C:27-2 (bribery in official and political matters), N.J.S.A. 2C:27-3
(threats and other improper influence in official and political matters), N.J.S.A. 2C:27-5 (retaliation
for past official action), N.J.S.A. 2C:27-9 (public servant transacting business with
certain persons), N.J.S.A. 2C:27-10 (acceptance or receipt of unlawful benefit by public servant
for official behavior), N.J.S.A. 2C:27-11 (offer of unlawful benefit by public servant for
official behavior), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-1 (perjury), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-2 (false swearing), N.J.S.A.
2C:28-3 (unsworn falsification to authorities), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-4 (false reports to law enforcement
officials), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5 (tampering with witnesses and informants; retaliation
against them), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-6 (tampering with or fabricating physical evidence), N.J.S.A.
2C:28-7 (tampering with public records or information), N.J.S.A. 2C:28-8 (impersonating a
public servant or law enforcement officer), N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2 (official misconduct), N.J.S.A.
2C:30-3 (speculating or wagering on official action or information), N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5
(manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance), N.J.S.A.
2C:35-10 (possession, use or being under the influence or failure to make lawful disposition
of a controlled dangerous substance), N.J.S.A. 2C:37-2 (promoting gambling), N.J.S.A.
2C:37-3 (possession of gambling records), or N.J.S.A. 2C:37-4 (maintenance of a gambling
resort).
§ 13:45A-17.7 Duty to update information
(a) Whenever any information required to be included in the application changes, or if additional
information should be added after the filing of the application, the applicant or registered home improvement
contractor, as appropriate, shall provide that information to the Director, in writing,
within 20 calendar days of the change or addition. Whenever any other information filed with the
Director pursuant to the Contractors' Registration Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-136 et seq., or this subchapter
has changed, the applicant or registered home improvement contractor, as appropriate, shall
provide that information to the Director, in writing, within 20 calendar days of the change or addition.
(b) Whenever any information required to be included in the disclosure statement changes, or if
additional information should be added after the filing of the statement, the applicant or registered
home improvement contractor, as appropriate, shall provide that information to the Director, in
writing, within 30 calendar days of the change or addition.
§ 13:45A-17.8 Requirement to cooperate
Home improvement contractor applicants seeking to register with the Division and registered home
improvement contractors shall have the continuing duty to provide any assistance or information;
to produce any records requested by the Director; and to cooperate in any inquiry, investigation or
hearing conducted by the Director.
§ 13:45A-17.9 Refusal to issue, suspension or revocation of registration; hearing; other
sanctions
(a) The Director may refuse to issue or renew, or may suspend or revoke any registration issued
by the Division upon proof that an applicant or registrant or any of its officers, directors, principals
or persons with an ownership interest of 10 percent or more in the home improvement contractor
business:
1. Has obtained any registration, certification or license by fraud, deception or misrepresentation;
2. Has engaged in the use or employment of dishonesty, fraud, deception, misrepresentation,
false promise or false pretense;
3. Has engaged in gross negligence, gross malpractice or gross incompetence;
4. Has engaged in repeated acts of negligence, malpractice or incompetence involving selling
or making a home improvement;
5. Has engaged in professional or occupational misconduct;
6. Has been adjudged liable in an administrative or civil action involving any finding or admission
which would provide a basis for discipline pursuant to (a)1 through 5 above regardless
of whether that finding was made in the context of an injunction, a proceeding resulting in
the denial, suspension or revocation of a license, certification or registration, consented to
in an assurance of voluntary compliance or any similar order or legal agreement with any
State or Federal agency;
7. Has been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude or any crime relating adversely
to selling or making home improvements. For the purpose of this paragraph, a plea of
guilty, non vult, nolo contendere or any other such disposition of alleged criminal activity
shall be deemed a conviction;
8. Has had his or her authority to engage in the activity regulated by the Director revoked or
suspended by any other state, agency or authority for reasons consistent with this section;
9. Has violated or failed to comply with N.J.S.A. 56:8-136 et seq. or any provision of this subchapter
or the provisions of any act, regulation or order administered or issued by the Director;
or
10. Is unable to meet the requirements of the Contractors' Registration Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-136
et seq., or rule in this subchapter for medical or any other good cause to the detriment of
the public's health, safety and welfare.
(b) Information contained in the application required pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.5 and information
contained in the disclosure statement required to be filed pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.6
may be used by the Director as grounds for denying, suspending or revoking a registration. An applicant
whose registration is denied or a home improvement contractor whose registration is suspended
or revoked based upon information contained in the application or disclosure statement or
any amendments thereto shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard pursuant to the Administrative
Procedure Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq., and the Uniform Administrative Procedure Rules,
N.J.A.C. 1:1, upon written request to the Director within 30 days of the notice of denial, suspension
or revocation which shall contain the basis for such action. In any matter in which the provisions of
the Rehabilitated Convicted Offenders Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:168A-1 et seq., apply, the Director shall
comply with the requirements of that Act.
(c) Except as provided in (b) above, prior to refusing to issue or renew or suspending or revoking a
home improvement contractor registration or assessing a penalty, the Director shall notify the applicant
or registrant and provide an opportunity to be heard.
(d) In addition to assessing a monetary penalty for any violation of this subchapter, the Director
may revoke a registration or suspend the registration for a period of time dependent upon the seriousness
of the violation.
(e) Nothing contained in this subchapter shall limit the Director from imposing any additional fees,
fines, penalties, restitution or any other sanctions as permitted under the Consumer Fraud Act,
N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.
§ 13:45A-17.10 Reinstatement of suspended registration
A registration that is suspended by the Director may be reinstated upon the contractor satisfying
the conditions for reinstatement as determined by the Director and paying all outstanding fees,
fines, penalties and restitution, including the payment of the reinstatement fee specified in N.J.A.C.
13:45A-17.14.
§ 13:45A-17.11 Ownership and use of registration number; replacement and duplicate
certificates
(a) Each registration number and certificate containing such registration number issued by the Director
to a home improvement contractor remain the property of the State of New Jersey. If the
Director suspends, fails to renew, or revokes a registration, the home improvement contractor shall
immediately return all registration certificates to the Director and shall remove the registration
number from all vehicles, advertising and anything else on which the registration number is displayed
or otherwise communicated.
(b) The Director shall issue a replacement certificate upon payment of the replacement certificate
fee as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.14 and receipt by the Director of an affidavit or certified
statement attesting that the original was either lost, destroyed, mutilated or is otherwise no longer
in the custody of and cannot be recovered by the certificate holder.
(c) The Director shall issue a duplicate certificate to a registered contractor upon payment of the
duplicate certificate fee as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-17.14 and receipt by the Director of an affidavit
or certified statement that the registered contractor has multiple places of business in which
the contractor must display a certificate. A registered contractor may not possess more registration
certificates than the number of places of business utilized by the contractor.
(d) A registered home improvement contractor shall prominently display:
1. The original registration certificate or a duplicate registration certificate issued by the Division
at each place of business; and
2. The contractor's registration number on all advertisements distributed within this State, on
business documents, contracts and correspondence with consumers of home improvement
services in this State, and on all commercial vehicles registered in this State and leased or
owned by a registrant and used by the registrant for the purpose of providing home improvements,
except for vehicles leased or rented by a registrant to a customer of that registrant.
(e) Any invoice, contract or correspondence given by a registrant to a consumer shall prominently
contain the toll-free telephone number provided by the Division pursuant to (b) of N.J.S.A. 56:8-
§ 13:45A-17.12 Mandatory commercial general liability insurance
(a) On or after December 31, 2005 every registered home improvement contractor shall secure
and maintain in full force and effect during the entire term of registration a commercial general liability
insurance policy and shall file with the Director proof that such insurance is in full force and
effect.
(b) The insurance policy required to be filed with the Director shall be a commercial general liability
insurance policy, occurrence form, and shall provide a minimum coverage in the amount of
$500,000 per occurrence. On or after December 31 2005, every registered contractor engaged in
home improvements whose commercial general liability insurance policy is canceled or nonrenewed
shall submit to the director a copy of the certificate of commercial general liability insurance for a
new or replacement policy which meets the requirements of (a) above before the former policy is
no longer effective.
(c) The proof of insurance required by (a) above shall be a certificate provided by the insurer containing
the insured's name, business street address, policy number, term of the insurance, and information
assuring that the policy conforms with (b) above.
(d) A home improvement contractor who either does not renew or otherwise changes the contractor's
commercial general liability policy shall submit a copy of the certificate of commercial general
liability insurance for the new policy before the former policy is no longer effective.
§ 13:45A-17.13 Requirements of certain home improvement contracts
In addition to the requirements of a home improvement contract pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.2,
every home improvement contract in which a person required to be registered as a home improvement
contractor is a party shall comply with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 56:8-151.
§ 13:45A-17.14 Fees
(a) The Division shall charge the following non-refundable home improvement contractor registration
fees:
1. Initial registration fee $90.00;
2. Renewal registration fee $75.00;
3. Late fee $25.00;
4. Reinstatement fee $50.00;
5. Replacement or duplicate certificate fee $20.00.
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