The Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA) has been in effect since July 1, 2009. It requires all home improvement contractors who work in our state to be registered with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.
PBA wants to ensure that all of our members have access to the resources they need to comply with this law. As a home improvement contractor, you are expected to register every 2 years and the cost is $50. Here are answers to frequently asked questions from the Attorney General:
Who Must Register?
- Anyone who owns or operates a home improvement business or who offers, performs, or agrees to perform home improvements in Pennsylvania must register with the Office of Attorney General, unless they fall into two exceptions: small contractors (less than $5,000 of work in a calendar year), and large retailers (net worth of more than $50 million). All contractors, including self-employed contractors and sole proprietorships, subcontractors and independent contractors, and corporations, partnerships and all other types of business entities must be registered, unless they fall into the two exemptions above.
- Contractors are defined as: Any person who owns and operates a home improvement business or who undertakes, offers to undertake, or agrees to perform any home improvement. The term includes a subcontractor or independent contractor who has contracted with a home improvement retailer, regardless of the retailer's net worth, to provide home improvement services to the retailer's customers.
Contractors who exclusively build new homes, commercial builders, and builders who only work on local, state and federal government construction projects are excluded from the law.
What Information is Required to Register?
The law requires contractors to submit a completed application, which includes the following information:
- Contact and identifying information for the applicant (including information on any prior home improvement businesses operated by the applicant)
- For corporations and business entities - information on partners, officers, managers and other parties with an interest in the business
- Information on other contractor licenses and registrations held by the applicant
- A description of the applicant's business
- Background disclosures, including information on prior bankruptcies and criminal pleas or convictions
- Insurance policy information showing at least $50,000 of personal injury liability coverage and $50,000 of property damage coverage
- A signed and dated certification by the applicant
- A non-refundable application fee of $50, payable to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Do Contractors Need to Display Their Registration # on Their Vehicles?
Your registration number must be included in any advertisements, contracts, estimates and proposals that you use in Pennsylvania. If your vehicle includes an advertisement of your business, then it must display your HIC Registration number.
Your number display must include the abbreviation "PA" and the number assigned to you (example: PA123456). Though the law does not dictate where your number must appear in contracts or advertisements, it must be clearly displayed so the consumer can easily read it.
What Needs to be in Contracts for Home Improvements?
Every contract for home improvements needs to be written, legible and signed by the consumer and the contractor (or their representatives). Contracts must also contain important provisions, including the total price of the project; estimated start and completion dates; and a description of the work.
In October 2014, HICPA was amended to allow "time and materials" contract usage by contractors, provided the contractor: (1) informs the consumer in writing that the time and materials contract will not exceed 10% above an initial cost estimate agreed by the homeowner; and (2) informs the consumer in writing that any cost beyond the contract price (initial cost plus estimated 10%) must be agreed to by the homeowner in a written change order.
Where Can I Renew My Registration?
- Contractors can renew their registration with the Office of Attorney General online
- Contractors must re-register every 2 years. Re-registration applicants will continue to use their previously issued registration number; however you must renew in order to avoid your HIC number showing as expired in the HIC registry.
- Any home improvement contractor who is not registered is prohibited from offering or performing home improvements. The failure to register is a violation of the law and unregistered contractors face legal action, including civil penalties of $1,000 or more.
For more information, please contact:
PA Attorney General (717) 787-3391
This information was adapted from the State Attorney General's website. You can view the full information and more FAQ's here.
The PBA Board Meeting is a multi-day event that takes place three times each calendar year at multiple locations across the state. During these gatherings, PBA's committee meetings are held (see a full list of committees here) along with seminars or training for members. Our partners from member benefits programs also attend to connect with members and answer questions. There are social events for members to attend, as well, whether it's a cocktail reception in the summer/fall or the Winter Installation & Awards Banquet.
These events are not just for board members or leadership; any member may attend! Unless otherwise noted on the schedule of events below, committee meetings are open to all membership and we encourage you to attend them to let your voice be heard. It's your chance to get involved at the state level, learn about issues concerning the industry, and make valuable connections with other members. So, how do you sign up?
Last week, an email was sent to all membership with the subject line "Register for the PBA Summer Board Meeting (Regional/Board Packet available)". This email included:
- Date, time, and location
- Room reservation details
- Regional/Board Packet for upcoming regional meetings
- Registration link to RSVP for meetings
- Full schedule of events
- PaCAH Cocktail Reception and fundraising information
If you didn't get this email, contact PBA staff. You can expect to receive this email each time a Board Meeting is approaching. As this information becomes available, it will always be posted to the PBA events calendar along with all of the links you'll need.
Schedule of Events
Board Meetings usually take place over the span of 3 days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).
However, NAHB's Association Leadership Institute is being held in Pittsburgh during the same week of this year's Summer Board Meeting. Therefore, the PBA Board of Directors voted to modify the schedule for this meeting only so that members, Executive Officers, and staff could attend both events. This year's Summer Board Meeting will have a condensed schedule of Friday and Saturday meetings. You can download the full schedule of events here.
Consult your Member Guide or our FAQ's document for more information. If you still can't find your answers, please don't hesitate to contact PBA Staff. We hope to see you in Pittsburgh this summer!
In good times or bad, there is one constant: Homeownership remains the American Dream for millions of American families. And there are many reasons why, both economic and emotional.
Most Americans consider homeownership to be their single best long-term investment and a primary source of their wealth and financial security. Generations of families have counted on and used the equity in their homes for their children's education, their own retirement and other milestone expenses.
Individual household budgets are helped by tax incentives that are designed to make owning a home more affordable. Deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Home owners save nearly $100 billion annually on mortgage interest and property deductions alone.
And when home owners sell their primary residence, they get an enormous tax break. A couple who owns and lives in their home for two years and then decides to sell can keep up to $500,000 of the profit tax-free, and a single owner can keep up to $250,000. A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. In fact, fully 15% of the U.S. economy relies on housing.
Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States. Constructing 100 new homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income, and $8.9 million in federal, state, and local tax revenue. New home owners spend money on decorations and furnishings, to enhance the landscaping and to become members of the community by patronizing local businesses and service providers.
Yet a home is so much more than an investment. In good times and in bad, the opportunity to own a home has been a cherished ideal and a source of pride, accomplishment, social stability and peace of mind.
Homeownership strengthens communities as well as families.
Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. People are more likely to take care of things they own so they remain valuable. And a home's value is determined by how well it is maintained, as well as by the condition of the neighborhood it is located in. So home owners have incentive to spend their time and resources improving the neighborhood, even if it is just to protect the value of their investment.
Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement and improves the quality of life for millions of people. The Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission has said that homeownership can "produce powerful economic, social, and civic benefits that serve the individual home owner, the larger community, and the nation".
It is important to know that despite the fact that housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen, homeownership is under attack. Policymakers are proposing radical changes, including ending the mortgage interest deduction and mandating minimum 20% down payments, that would threaten the dream of homeownership for millions of Americans.
The National Association of Home Builders' website, www.protecthomeownership.com, has more information about the threats to homeownership and how to take action to protect it.
Help us protect your American Dream, and celebrate National Homeownership Month with us! Visit our Building a New Home page for more information.
The only people who benefit when a house is built are the family members who get to live there, and the builder who constructed and sold the home, right?
Wrong. The positive impact of new residential construction is far-reaching, bringing benefits to families, businesses, and services throughout a community immediately, as well as for years to come.
According to economists at the National Association of Home Builders, the one-year estimated local impacts of building 100 single-family homes in a typical metro area include $28.7 million in local income, $3.6 million in taxes and other local government revenue, and 394 local jobs.
But what does that economic impact mean in the real, day-to-day lives of community residents?
Just think about it. When a family moves to a community and buys a new house, they will likely shop at local stores to buy furniture and accessories to decorate their home. They will fill their car's gas tank at the local gas station so they can get to the stores, have local mechanics work on the car when it breaks down or needs an oil change, or buy a new car at a local dealer when it's time for an upgrade.
The family may need to hire local companies for regular services to maintain their home, such as landscaping, house cleaning, pet sitters or pool upkeep.
The children will enroll in local schools. This increases enrollment, meaning more teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers and other school support staff will need to be hired. Those kids will also join sports leagues and other activities, buy equipment and pay registration fees that provide stipends for referees and coaches.
All of this economic activity puts income into the pockets of local business owners and their families, who can then afford to go out and spend money themselves, which recycles even more money into the community's economy.
The new family also pays local and state taxes. These tax revenues help pay for a wide range of government services, including school teachers, police departments, refuse collection, parks maintenance and road repairs.
Over the long term, as families who move into new homes become part of the community, their positive impact continues. NAHB estimates that those 100 new homes also provide the community with additional, annually-recurring impacts of $4.1 million in local income, $1 million in taxes and other revenue for local governments, and 69 local jobs.
Families who buy a newly built home enjoy benefits including safety, amenities, energy efficiency and floor plans to fit a modern lifestyle. But the advantages of new homes extend far beyond the buyers and the builders - residential construction has a positive, direct impact on the local community for years.
Join us in celebrating the American dream with National Homeownership Month! For more information, visit the Building a New Home page under the Consumers tab, or go to www.nahb.org.
Catch a Pirates baseball game (and maybe even a foul ball) with PBA on Friday, July 24. The game starts at 7:05 sharp, so be sure to get there early for the unlimited hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, nachos, ice cream sandwiches, water and soda that come with your All You Can Eat ticket package. Tickets are $100, and limited in number, so get yours today! All proceeds benefit PaCAH. You could even wear your PaCAH tshirt or polo, which you can buy here.
Don’t miss out on this opportunity to not only experience PNC Park, but also to make an impact on your industry by supporting PaCAH. Buy your Pirates tickets, other PaCAH gear, or make a contribution, all on the PaCAH page.
Contact Jill Pento with any questions at 717.730.4380 ext. 3028, or by email.
The Association Excellence Awards strive to honor HBAs, EOs, staff and volunteer leaders for their successful programs in the previous year. On April 8, the winners for the 2014 Association Excellence Awards - HBA Awards were selected from over 100 applicants.
PBA is excited to announce that 4 PA locals have received 6 of these prestigious awards!
The winners are:
- BIA of Philadelphia (under 200 members)-"BIA Philadelphia 2014 Membership Directory"
- BIA of Lancaster County (200-600 members)-"BIA Lancaster 2014 Membership Directory"
- HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties (200-600 members)-"New HBA Website!"
HBA Operations Pillar
Best Community Service Project Conducted
- BIA of Northeastern PA (under 200 members)-"World Wide Epidemic: Homeless Veterans"
- BIA of Lancaster County (200-600 members)-"BIA Community Collaborative"
Best Membership Event
- HBA of Bucks & Montgomery Counties (200-600 members)-"Best Value of Your Membership!"
To see all of the award winners, click here.
As the summer home selling season approaches, home owners considering planning to place their properties on the market should know about remodeling projects that return the most value and increase selling likelihood with better curb appeal or popular features. Housing market data reveals that small, smart remodels reward home owners with better return on investment and can help update a home for a better sale. The following are some of the top remodeling projects; use these to begin planning your conversion during National Remodeling Month.
1. Install a new steel door.
It may not sound like the most exciting addition, but it's one of the financially savviest decisions you could make in your remodeling adventure. Exterior work in general seems to offer the biggest bang for your buck in terms of resale, simply because the exterior appearance of the home could make (or break) a potential home sale. While the appearance of a steel door isn't the main concern, it's the security and savings it offers that attract homebuyers. By providing better insulation than alternative front doors, this can be an attractive pro in the eyes of the potential buyer. Houselogic
2. Remodel the bathroom.
Payback on remodeling a bathroom can reach 75% with new fixtures, tile, toilet, vanity, and lighting. Low flow toilets consume less water and can decrease the monthly water bill. A new attraction that's beginning to be seen in American homes is a centered bathtub. According to the 2015 Home Design Trends, large, well-designed tubs are becoming the center of attention. They are pulled away from the wall and are treated almost like pieces of art. This continues the "bathroom as a spa" trend that is becoming big in both new homes and remodeling projects. Realtor.com
3. Remodel the basement.
Today, buyers are looking for as much usable, move-in ready space as possible. Having a finished basement could sway potential homebuyers into becoming the new home owners. Regardless of whether you turn your basement into a living space, a rec room, or a bar/lounge area, it's sure to attract potential buyers that may not have been interested before.
4. Replace the garage door(s).
Home owners usually see about an 84% return on garage door replacement. While it improves your curb appeal, it's an easy, inexpensive way to bump up savings in heating/cooling energy and security. It's likely that a new door will be well-insulated and sealed, making the garage a more comfortable and enjoyable space to spend time in, whether it's used for a studio, workshop, or even a playroom for the kids.
5. Attic bedroom conversion.
Converting your dusty attic into a functional bedroom can add huge value to your home; adding a bathroom can add the same value to your home that a complete two-story addition would. It may not add to the square footage of the overall home, but it adds another bedroom; this may put the home in a new category and allow you to charge more as a seller. CBS News
Smart remodeling projects for improving the home can attract buyers and make the home more comfortable.
Interested in finding a professional remodeler? Click here to find your local home builders association.
Sources: CBS News, HouseLogic, and Realtor.com
Increase your bottom line and put money back in your pocket; the PBA Member Rebate Program is quick, easy, and hassle-free. In 2014, participating members earned an average of over $1,010 in rebates!
Follow these three simple steps to join in on the savings:
1. Register here: hbarebates.com/pba.html2. Claim your projects every quarter. If you have a completed home, remodeling project, or multi-family unit that used any of the participating manufacturers, complete and submit the Rebate Claim Form online or by mail.
3. Collect your rebate!
This year, the Member Rebate Program announced the addition of 5 new manufacturers. Added to the ever-growing list are: Generac Power Systems, Dutch Quality Stone, StoneCraft, Eldorado Outdoor, and Element Central Vacuum System. See a complete list of participating manufacturers.
No change in suppliers. No receipts. No minimums. An easy way to recoup most, and sometimes all, of your membership dues. The deadline to submit first quarter rebates is May 15, 2015.
Click here for a flyer (PDF) with more information or contact Rich Robinson at (866) 849-8400.
FHLBank Pittsburgh's Affordable Housing Program (AHP) provides grants for the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of single- or multi-family housing for individuals at or below 80% of area median income.
Benefits of AHP for housing developers:
- Flexible source of funding for a variety of affordable housing project types
- Funding terms that work well with other funding sources (Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HUD Community Development Block Grant/HOME Funds, state/county funds)
- User-friendly online application that minimizes paperwork
- Transparent project scoring process that enables developers to assess the competitiveness of the application
View TradeSecrets newsletter archives!