Serving the Bay Area since 1989

This information is based upon California Business law, if you are in a different state please consult with your local agency, as requirements are likely to vary.

What is home improvement contract?

A home improvement contract is an oral or written agreement between a contractor or sales person and either a residential owner or a tenant for the performance of a home improvement.

What types of contracts must be in writing?

If the total costs of the project exceed $500, by law the contract MUST be in writing. The total costs include labor and material.

What is required to be in a home improvement contract?

1. Contractor's names address and license number.

2. Statement where to file a complaint.

3. Arbitration notices if the contractor is requiring private arbitration.

4. Approximate start and completion dates.

5. Statement of consequences if contractor fails to substantially commence work within 20 days of the start date with out lawful excuse.

6. Statement of what constitutes substantial commencement of work.

7. Description of work to be done, including material and equipment to be used or installed.

8. Clause allowing for change orders after original contract.

9. Clear description of any other matters agreed to by the parties.

10. Price agreed upon to do the work.

11. Down payment cannot be more than 10% of the total cost of the project or $1,000, whichever is less.

12. Schedule of payments in dollars and cents.

13. Notice to owners regarding Mechanics liens.

14. Contractor statements regarding lien release upon satisfactory payment for work performed.

15. Notice to owner requiring right to bond or joint control.

16. Statement of right to cancel. (Requiring three-day right to cancel.)

How can I find out if a contractor is licensed?

You may contact the Contractor State License Board  "http://www.cslb.ca.gov/consumers/default.asp" to find out if this or any other contractor has a valid license. The Board has office throughout California. Please check the government pages or the white pages for the office nearest you. Or, call 1-800-321-CLSB for more information.

For any further question please refer to our Question or Email page.

The above information is based upon information from "Home Improvement Contracts" a California CLSB publication.