A Homeowner’s Guide to Indiana’s Home Improvement Contract Act

You can YouTube how to do just about anything these days. Doing so may give you a false (or very real) sense of confidence in your ability to make repairs around the house. But you know your limits too. For home improvement projects outside of your comfort zone, you rely on the professionals. 

The majority of home improvement professionals are honest, hardworking, and reliable. A small minority, however, are not.

When Home Improvement in Lafayette, IN Goes Wrong

Online reviews can give you a snapshot of the horror stories about contractors who were paid up front and never finished the project or who finished the job, but three weeks later the kitchen cabinets were falling off of the wall.

If this has happened to you, you may be concerned that you just spent thousands of dollars to improve your home, your contractor will not return your phone calls, you cannot afford help from a lawyer, and you are out of options.

In Indiana, that is not always the case.

Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act

The Indiana legislature recognized that few consumers are knowledgeable about the home improvement industry or of the techniques that must be employed to produce a sound structure. Because consumers rely so heavily on the contractor, it is important to protect them from potential abuse.

This is the reason the state legislature passed the Indiana Home Improvement Contract Act (HICA). HICA covers all types of home improvements: plumbing, electrical work, interior remodeling, siding, decks, roofs, wells, even spraying for termites. 

HICA requires contractors to be very transparent with the terms of their contracts. Specifically, the contract must include, without limitation:

  • The name, address, email, and phone number of the person responsible for the work
  • Estimated start and completion dates
  • A reasonably detailed description of the work to be done
  • Signature for both the contractor and the consumer
  • The contract price
  • Notice as to whether or not any of the work will be subcontracted

Ind. Code § 24-5-11-10

If your contract is missing one of these required provisions, the contract is in violation of HICA, and you may have a private cause of action against the contractor.

Know What Your Home Improvement Contract Must Cover

The typical “contract” provided by many contractors is simply an invoice or estimate that lacks the level of detail required by the statute. If a contractor uses one of these invoice-type contracts and walks off the job or its quality of work falls below the industry standard, they expose themselves to stiff statutory penalties designed to hold the contractor accountable.

The penalties for violating the statute can include up to three times the amount of your damages and recovery of your attorney fees.

Get Help From Our Real Estate Attorneys

If you believe that a contractor has performed substandard work on your home, please contact the attorneys at Reiling, Teder & Schrier in Lafayette, Indiana. We have the experience to evaluate your claim and advise you how to get your house back in order.

**Reiling Teder & Schrier, LLC is an Indiana Limited Liability Company. The information contained in this website has been prepared by Reiling Teder & Schrier, LLC for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon to make any decision, legal or otherwise. If you have any specific questions or inquiries regarding any of the information contained in this website, you should consult with an attorney licensed in your state. The information contained in this website pertains only to matters of Indiana law and the laws of other states may be completely different from the laws of the State of Indiana.