(White Plains, NY) – Each year, the Westchester County Consumer Protection Department (“Department”) aggressively pursues violations of Westchester County law requiring home improvement contractors to be licensed to work in our County. Now that it’s springtime – prime time for home repair work – it’s important for consumers and contractors to understand and follow these laws.

County Executive George Latimer said: “Operating without a home improvement contractor license is a violation of law in Westchester County. If you’re hiring a contractor to do home improvement work, be sure to ask to see the contractor’s license.”

A list of all licensed contractors and a list of “renegade renovators” (contractors that homeowners should avoid) can be found on the Department’s webpage: consumer.westchestergov.com.  Also, residents should note that licensed home improvement contractors must display a green sticker on the rear bumper of their vehicles, which indicates the expiration date of the license.

Consumer Protection Director Jim Maisano stated: “Consumers need to do their ‘homework’ before hiring a home improvement contractor. The first step is to review the list of licensed contractors which can be found on our webpage. There are over 8,000 contractors licensed to do work in Westchester.”

Maisano added that whenever a consumer hires a contractor for home improvement work, there should be a written contract between the parties and a sample contract can be found on the Department’s webpage.

Consumers should know that the Department is vigilant in following up on formal complaints and will take action against contractors who operate without a license and who violate the terms of their contracts.

Tips for Consumers Seeking Home Improvement Contractors

•           Before hiring a contractor, review the Department’s webpage which offers helpful advice to consumers about hiring a contractor to do work at your home including a pamphlet in PDF form with everything you need to know.

•           Get written estimates and references from at least 3 contractors.

•           Be sure that all work to be done is spelled out in a detailed, written contract including the estimated start and completion dates and the total price, including the costs of labor and materials and any schedule of payments.

•           Be wary of unsolicited phone calls and door-to-door sales. Often these are initiated by contractors who are unlicensed and without established business locations. Plus, be wary of any “special prices” that are too good to be true or any contractor who just “happens” to be in your neighborhood.

Additional information is available at www.consumer.westchestergov.com or contact Department of Consumer Protection at (914) 995-2155 or ConPro@westchestergov.com for assistance.