Home Repair and Remodeling Act Basics

If you are entering into a contract to repair or remodel your home, you should be aware of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act (815 ILCS 513/1 et seq.). The purpose of this law is to protect Illinois homeowners and contractors, and it requires some disclosures and documentation so that the parties are aware of their respective obligations.

Specifically, if a homeowner is remodeling or completing repairs for $1,000 or more, the contractor must give that homeowner a brochure entitled “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights” prior to signing the contract. Then, prior to beginning work, the contractor must obtain a signed contract or work order. If a contractor does not comply with these requirements and the other requirements of the Home Repair and Remodeling Act, the contractor will be unable to enforce the agreement against the homeowner.

It is important for homeowners to understand, however, that in a recent case, MD Electrical Contractors, Inc. v. Abrams, 228 Ill.2d 281 (2008), the Illinois Supreme Court determined that this law applies only to contractors, not to subcontractors . Subcontractors contract directly with the general contractor; they do not typically sign an agreement with the homeowners, and are therefore not required to provide disclosures to the homeowner either. If your general contractor is working with subcontractors to complete repairs on your home, it is important for you to make sure that the subcontractors are being paid and are providing mechanic’s lien waivers on an ongoing basis. If you are diligent throughout your home repair project and ensure that the documentation completed and the payments made are correct, you can prevent costly mechanics’ liens and suits.