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Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Warns Homeowners Affected by Storms to Hire Only MHIC Licensed Home Improvement Contractors

BALTIMORE, MD (October 5, 2015) – Many homes and businesses across the state suffered damage from storms and flooding earlier in the week, but there is the potential for more significant damage over the next several days. Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary of Maryland's Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation warns homeowners to be very careful in selecting home improvement contractors to make repairs. Unlicensed contractors and scam artists may try to take advantage of distraught homeowners anxious to complete repairs as soon as possible.

“Homeowners can be the target of scam artists following damaging storms. Don't be an unlicensed contractor's next victim,” cautioned Secretary Schulz. “It may seem like a good deal to hire an unlicensed contractor who offers to do a job at a lower price than a licensed contractor, but the cost to repair shoddy work or to pay another contractor to complete the work left unfinished costs much more in the end.”

Homeowners who use Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) licensed contractors are protected by the laws administered by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission and are eligible for coverage by the Home Improvement Guaranty Fund. The Guaranty Fund provides homeowners with up to $20,000 for losses caused by poor or incomplete work by MHIC licensed contractors.

Finding a licensed contractor is easy. Consumers can access information and services from MHIC by phone or through DLLR’s website.

MHIC offers these guidelines to assist consumers in protecting themselves and their homes:

  1. Only hire licensed MHIC contractors.
  2. Contact MHIC to check on the contractor's complaint history.
  3. Obtain estimates and references from several licensed contractors.
  4. Be sure to check references.
  5. Always get a written contract, and pay no money before the contract is signed.
  6. Once the contract is signed, pay no more than one-third of the contract price as a deposit.
  7. If a building permit is required, make sure the contractor shows you the permit before work is started.
  8. Be sure to get a copy of the contractor's current liability insurance certificate.

For more information about the MHIC and the home improvement industry in Maryland, contact the MHIC at 410-230-6309 or toll free at 888-218-5925 or visit our website.

About the Maryland Department of Labor
The Maryland Department of Labor is committed to safeguarding and protecting Marylanders. We're proud to support the economic stability of the state by providing businesses, the workforce, and the consuming public with high-quality, customer-focused regulatory, employment, and training services. For updates and information, follow the Maryland Department of Labor on Twitter (@MD_Labor), Facebook and visit our website.