WAMC News, New York News
3:47 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

AG Investigation Finds Contractors Non-Compliant with State Home Improvements Contract Law

New York’s Attorney General was in Plattsburgh recently to announce the results of a regional investigation into contractor compliance with the state Home Improvements Contract law.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said what was discovered in New York’s North Country is of statewide concern.

New York State passed a law in 1988 requiring that contractors performing any type of home improvement must provide a written contract before beginning any project. The contract must  describe exactly what work will be done, what  materials will be used, and the  start and completion dates. It must be signed by both the homeowner and contractor with a 3-day right to cancel.  The law also requires that deposits for the work be kept in a separate account. They cannot be placed in a contractor’s general account. Due to a high volume of complaints, the North Country regional attorney general’s office began an educational campaign notifying over 400 contractors of the law.  Two years later, the number of complaints had not diminished.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says they began a formal investigation last May and characterized the results as “astounding”.

Settlements have been reached with 47 contractors in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. Attorney General Schneiderman hopes this announcement educates consumers about their rights.

Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Plattsburgh Regional Office Glen Michaels says despite their earlier outreach, most violations were due to ignorance about the law.

Northeast Irrigation and Landscape LLC Owner Chris Lefevre says he’s pleased that the Attorney General investigated.

Assistant Attorney General Glen Michaels says the contractors that have been fined are not necessarily unscrupulous, they simply were not following the law.

A contractor is responsible for all sub-contractors following the provisions of the Home Improvements Contract law.  Out-of-state contractors doing work in New York are subject to the law.