Home Repairs and Remodeling

DeKalb County Courthouse | Sycamore, Illinois

Before starting a major repair or remodeling project, there are steps you and the contractor must take to get authorization and avoid issues with the city or inspectors. Not only are these issues time-consuming and expensive, but they can derail a project as well.

At Petti Murphy & Associates, we routinely help homeowners and contractors take the proper steps to prepare a project and avoid costly delays. Call our law firm today at 630-457-1691 to learn how we can help you with your home repair or remodeling project. Located in Geneva, we offer representation throughout the greater Chicago metro area and Tri-Cities area.

Solutions You Need To Efficiently Complete Home Repair And Remodeling Projects

Contractors who propose to do repair and remodeling construction work in Illinois must, prior to beginning work, deliver to their customers a disclosure brochure (and have them sign a form acknowledging receipt of the brochure) called "Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights." Equally important, the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act (815 ILCS 513/20) mandates that the contractor provide a written estimate of "reasonable particularity."

Certain specific requirements must go into a written form of repair and remodeling contract. If the job is over $1,000, a written contract is required, and the contractor must furnish the contract to the customer for signature and get it fully signed by both parties before the work is initiated. For jobs of $1,000 and under, a written contract is not required; however, the disclosure brochure still has to be furnished to the customer. For the smaller jobs, a detailed written quote should be provided.

If a contractor does not deliver the required disclosure pamphlet to the homeowner at the time of contracting for repair or remodeling, and does not comply with the requirements for a written repair and remodeling contract, it is likely that this will be viewed by the courts as knowingly done by the contractor, that is, intentionally done with the purpose of deceiving the homeowner.

IF THE HOMEOWNER CAN SHOW THAT HE OR SHE SUFFERED ACTUAL DAMAGES AS A RESULT OF A VIOLATION OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE HOME REPAIR ACT, HE OR SHE IS PERMITTED TO SUE UNDER SEC. 10a OF THE CONSUMER FRAUD AND DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES ACT AND OBTAIN DAMAGES, POSSIBLY INCLUDING ATTORNEY'S FEES, PUNITIVE DAMAGES AND LITIGATION EXPENSES.

So, such omissions not only violate the Home Repair and Remodeling Act, but also will constitute violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. Section 2Z of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/2Z) provides:

"Sec.2Z. Violations of other Acts. Any person who knowingly violates the ... Home Repair and Remodeling Act [815 ILCS 306/1] ... commits an unlawful practice within the meaning of this Act."

The importance of bringing a violation of the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act under the umbrella of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act is that the homeowner now gets new civil remedies to bring a private lawsuit against the contractor under Section 10(a) of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/10(a)). Section 10(a) provides:

"Any person who suffers actual damage as a result of a violation of this Act committed by any other person may bring an action against such person."

As such, a homeowner is entitled to seek money damages against the contractor for omissions, nonconformances and defects in the contractor's work; and if the contractor is a corporation, the homeowner is entitled to seek money damages directly against the contractor personally, since consumer fraud is deemed to be involved.

Indeed, failure of a contractor to comply with the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act can be a costly, yet unnecessary, omission. In most instances, the requirements of this law are not particularly unreasonable or unduly burdensome to a contractor. Contractors engaged in home repair and remodeling should consult with their attorneys to make sure they get the proper contract forms and disclosure documents!

For more information about this law and the brochure "HOME REPAIR: KNOW YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS" go to the Illinois Attorney General's website, http://www.ag.state.il.us/consumers/homerep0505c.pdf