AN OVERVIEW: THE ILLINOIS HOME REPAIR ACT
The Illinois Home Repair Act [815 ILCS 513/25] is getting a lot of attention these days because of some conflicting Appellate Court opinions interpreting the Act’s requirements. If you are an Illinois contractor engaged in home repair and remodeling, here is a very basic primer on what you need to do in order to comply with the Act:
1) If the project is going to cost more than $1000, there is to be a written contract, setting forth the total cost. Additionally, the business name and address of the person[s] engaged in the work is to be provided. 815 ILCS 513/15.
2) Notify the client if the contract is going to impact the client’s right to recovery. Specifically if the contract provides that disputes are to be resolved via arbitration or the right to a jury trial is waived, the contractor is to specifically notify the prospective client of those provisions. Although it is not set forth in the statute, it would be prudent to have a separate document spelling out the arbitration and jury waiver rights. 815 ILCS 513/15.1[a].
3) Document the client’s decisions as to the arbitration provision or jury waiver in writing. The statute suggest having the client simply write “accept” or “reject” in the margins wherever the provisions appear in the contract. 815 ILCS 513/15.1[b]. That’s a little informal. You might want to have a separate document formally demonstrating the client’s election as to those issues.
4) Give the client a copy of the “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights” pamphlet provided by the Attorney General. And, have the client sign and date a “Consumer Rights Acknowledgement Form” also provided by the Attorney General. 815 ILCS 513/20 [a].
5) Last, but not least, be sure that you are properly insured. The Act requires contactors to carry certain levels of public liability and property damage insurance.815 ILCS 513/25.
Please note: the above list is NOT comprensive, and is only meant to be a general discussion of what the Act requires. Be sure to check with an experienced attorney before undertaking any remodeling projects