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What is a Home Improvement Contract?

If you are a home improvement contractor, you should consider making Home Improvement Contracts to protect your business when you are planning to offer home improvement work to property owners. Signing this essential contract can lower the risk of future disputes. Different from a blank template that you may discover on another site, your Home Improvement Agreement comes with the option of Document Defense®, so an attorney can reach out on your behalf if you don't get paid or experience any other problem.

When to use a Home Improvement Contract:

  • You're a contractor being hired for a home improvement project.
  • You're hiring a contractor for a home improvement or remodeling project.

Sample Home Improvement Contract

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Home Improvement Contract

 

This Contract is between: , , , , (the "Owner"), and , , , (the "Contractor"), who is licensed in the state of

 

Project Address:

 

 

Contract Price: Owner agrees to pay Contractor for completing the Work described as the Project.

 

Total sales price including all labor and materials:  

 

-

In addition to any other right or remedy provided by law, if fails to pay for the Services when due, has the option to treat such failure to pay as a material breach of this Contract, and may cancel this Contract and/or seek legal remedies.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

. Licensing

 

Contractor warrants that [he or she] currently holds a valid license under the laws and statutes of the State of .

 

.

 

Contractor shall commence work under this Contract on or before . Contractor shall be deemed to have substantially commenced work when Contractor moves equipment onto the jobsite. If Contractor fails to substantially commence work within 30 days from the approximate date of commencement, Owner may delay the succeeding payment due to Contractor for a period of time equal to that of the delay in commencement of work. Allowance in approximate commencement and completion dates shall be made for any delays attributable to circumstances beyond Contractor's control.

 

. Drawings, Specifications, and Permits

 

The project will be constructed according to the drawings and specifications contained in , incorporated into this Contract by reference, which have been examined by Owner and which have been or may be signed by the parties to this Contract. Unless otherwise specifically provided in the drawings or specifications, Contractor will obtain and pay for all required building permits and Owner will pay assessments and charges required by public bodies and utilities for financing or repaying the cost of sewers, storm drains, water service, and other utilities including charges for sewer and storm drain reimbursement, revolving funds, hookup, and other similar charges.

 

Owner will locate and point out the property lines to Contractor, and will engage a licensed land surveyor to provide boundary stakes if Owner is in doubt as to property boundaries. Owner assumes all responsibility for the accuracy of the boundary markers. Owner shall give copies of any restrictions, easements, or rights of way to Contractor before work is commenced.

 

Unless otherwise specified, work does not include any changes or alterations from the drawings or specifications that may be required by any public body, utility, or inspector. Contractor, at Contractor's option, may alter specifications only so as to comply with requirements of governmental agencies having jurisdiction over same. The cost of any alteration undertaken to comply with any such requirements shall be in addition to the Contract price specified herein.

 

. Property Lines

 

Unless otherwise specified, Owner will provide all water, sewer, gas, and electric utilities from the point of entry at Owner's property line or, if metering devices are required, to those devices. In compliance with federal and state law, Owner agrees to make drinking water and toilet facilities available to all workers or to compensate Contractor for the cost of rented facilities. Owner agrees to provide the electricity that Contractor requires at the jobsite to complete the work.

 

. Access to Work

 

Owner shall grant free access to work areas for workers and vehicles and shall provide areas for storage of materials and debris. Owner agrees to keep driveways clear and available for movement and parking of trucks during scheduled working hours. Owner shall be responsible for securing all entrances to the jobsite in a manner adequate to prevent persons other than Owner, Contractor, and any authorized workers or material suppliers from gaining access to that site. Contractor shall be responsible, at the end of every workday, for storing all equipment and materials in the facilities provided by Owner. Contractor shall not be liable for damage to driveways, walks, lawns, shrubs, or other vegetation by movement of trucks, workers, equipment, materials, or debris.

 

Contractor shall keep Owner advised as to the hours during which work is scheduled to be performed at the jobsite. If Owner denies access to any worker or supplier of materials during scheduled working hours, then Owner will be deemed in breach of this Contract and subject to liability for any damages caused by the breach.

 

. Financing

 

Owner is responsible for obtaining all financing that is or may be necessary to fund the work specified in this Contract. Owner represents that Owner has sufficient funds or has arranged sufficient financing to comply with this Contract.

 

. Hazardous Materials

 

Unless otherwise specified in this Contract, the removal, disturbance, or transportation of hazardous materials, including asbestos, is not Contractor's responsibility under this Contract. The parties agree that, if Contractor encounters hazardous materials in the course of the Project, Contractor shall stop work immediately and notify Owner who may then retain a qualified Contractor to perform the work. Such work shall be considered Extra Work under Paragraph 13.

 

. Work Allowance, Conflict, and Abnormal Conditions

 

There shall be a reasonable allowance on all dimensions specified in work plans. All sizes are outside approximate sizes. If there is any conflict between sketches, renderings, views, pictures, plans, blueprints, etc., and the terms of this Contract, then this Contract shall be controlling. Contractor is not responsible for any existing illegal conditions. Contractor is not responsible for any unusual or abnormal concrete footings, foundations, retaining walls, or piers required, or any unusual depth requirements, such as, but not limited to, conditions caused by poor soil, lack of compaction, hillside, or other slope conditions. Contractor may, but is not obligated to, correct those conditions. All work necessary to correct abnormal conditions that is required by public bodies shall constitute an extra work item and the cost shall be in addition to the Contract price specified herein.

 

. Change Orders, Amendments, and Modifications

 

Any subsequent amendment, modification, or Contract, which alters this Contract, and which is signed or initialed by Contractor and Owner, shall be deemed a part of this Contract and shall be controlling in case of conflict with any other provision in Contract.

 

. Preparation, Work, and Material

 

Unless agreed on in writing between Contractor and Owner and included in this Contract under "Specifications", this Contract does not include painting and preparation, filling, finishing, grading, retaining walls, new or relocated gutters and downspouts, screen doors, stair railings, or weather stripping. Contractor shall have the option of selecting all floor coverings.

 

. Extra Work and Changes

 

. Plumbing

 

Unless specifically authorized by this Contract, Contractor shall not change plumbing, gas, waste, or water lines outside of the foundation of an existing building. Unless otherwise specifically provided for, this Contract does not cover work done on cesspools or septic tanks. The Contract price does not include rerouting, relocation, or replacement of vents, pipes, ducts, or conduits not shown, or pipes that may be encountered in areas of alteration or excavation.

 

. Electrical Service

 

Unless specifically included in this Contract, electrical work shall not involve a change to any existing service panel other than the addition of circuit breakers or fuse blocks to distribute electric current to new outlets. This Contract does not include changes to existing wiring in areas undisturbed by alterations. All existing electrical wiring systems are assumed to be, and Owner represents them to be, adequate to carry the load imposed by existing work. Any work necessary to correct these existing conditions shall be an extra work item subject to Paragraph 13 of this Contract.

 

. Plaster

 

Contractor calls Owner's attention to, and Owner acknowledges, the limitations of patching plaster. While Contractor shall make every effort to match existing textures, colors, and planes, exact duplication is not promised.

 

. Filled Ground or Rock

 

Unless this Contract specifically provides otherwise, excavating does not include work on filled ground, ground of inadequate bearing capacity, or rock or any other material not removable by ordinary hand tools. This work shall be an extra work item subject to Paragraph 13 of this Contract.

 

. Termite Work

 

Contractor is not obligated to perform any work to correct damage caused by termites or dry rot. Any such work shall be an extra work item subject to Paragraph 13 of this Contract.

 

. Removal of Material and Debris

 

Except for items designated by Owner in writing prior to the commencement of construction, Contractor shall dispose of all material removed from structures in the course of alteration. Contractor shall remove all construction debris on termination of work and shall leave the premises in neat, broom-clean condition.

 

. Extra Time

 

Contractor shall start and diligently pursue work through to completion, but shall not be responsible for delays caused by any of the following: failure of the issuance of all necessary building permits within a reasonable length of time; funding of loans; disbursement of funds into funding control or escrow; acts of neglect or omission by Owner or Owner's employees or agents; acts of God; stormy or inclement weather; strikes, lockouts, boycotts, or other labor union activities; extra work ordered by Owner; acts of public enemy; riots or civil commotion; inability to secure material through regular recognized channels; imposition of Government priority or allocation of materials; Owner's failure to make payments when due; delays caused by inspection or changes ordered by the inspectors of authorized governmental bodies; acts of independent Contractors; holidays; or any other circumstances beyond Contractor's control.

 

. Protection of Owner's Property

 

Owner agrees to remove from the jobsite or to otherwise protect any personal property including, but not limited to, carpets, rugs, drapes, furniture, shrubs, and plantings. Contractor shall not be held responsible for damage to or loss of any items of personal property.

 

. Guarantee of Materials and Workmanship

 

Contractor does not guarantee any materials, equipment, assemblies, or units that Contractor has purchased or will purchase as part of the work covered by this Contract. All of these items are subject to manufacturers or processor's guarantees or warranties.

 

. Work Stoppage

 

Contractor shall have the right to stop work and keep the job idle if payments are not made to Contractor when due. If the work is stopped, for any reason, for a period of 60 days, then Contractor may, at Contractor's option, on five days written notice, demand and receive payment for all work executed and materials ordered or supplied and any other loss sustained, including Contractor's normal overhead plus a profit of 10 percent of the Contract price. Thereafter, Contractor is relieved from any further liability. If work stops for any reason, Owner shall provide for protection of all material on the premises and shall be responsible for any damage, warpage, racking, or loss of that material.

 

. Completion and Occupancy

 

Owner agrees to sign and record a Notice of Completion within five days after the project is completed and ready for occupancy. If Owner fails to record the Notice of Completion, then Contractor shall, as Owner's agent, sign and record a Notice of Completion on Owner's behalf. This agency is irrevocable and is an agency coupled with an interest. Contractor may bar occupancy of the project by Owner or anyone else until Contractor has received all payments due under this Contract and until the appropriate Notice of Completion has been recorded. Use and/or occupancy shall constitute completion. If a funding control service is used, then Contractor and Owner agree that the funding control service shall be appointed as Owner's agent to sign and record a Notice of Completion on Owner's behalf.

 

. Notice

 

Any notice required or permitted under this Contract may be given by ordinary or electronic mail at the addresses specified in this Contract. If either party changes his or her address, that party shall provide written notice of the change to the other party. Notice shall be considered received one day after it is deposited in the mail with postage prepaid.

 

. Integration Clause

 

This document and all documents incorporated by reference constitute the parties' entire Contract. No other Contracts, oral or written, regarding the work to be performed under this Contract exist between the parties.

 

This Contract shall be construed in accordance with, and governed by, the laws of the State of .

 

. Corrective or Repair Work

 

If minor items of corrective or repair work remain to be accomplished by Contractor after the project is ready for occupancy, Contractor shall perform the work expeditiously and Owner shall not withhold any payment pending completion of that work.

 

If major items of corrective or repair work remain to be accomplished after the building is ready for occupancy, and the aggregate cost of that work exceeds one percent of the gross Contract price, then Owner, pending completion of the work, may withhold payment of a sufficient amount to pay for completion of the work, but shall not withhold any greater amount.

 

. Attorneys' Fees

 

In the event of any arbitration or litigation arising from this Contract, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover its costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.

 

. Signatories

 

This Contract shall be executed by the homeowner, , and by the contractor, . The Contract shall be effective as of signing.

 

 

 

  OWNER

 

 

By: Date:

 

 

  CONTRACTOR

 

 

 

By: Date:

 

 

___A contractor or salesperson shall provide and deliver to the owner, without charge, a completed copy of the home improvement contract at the time the contract is executed.

 

Important Details

 

The requirements for a Home Improvement Contract are very strict in California. Be sure to read the interview questions carefully and please answer each question completely. Failure to answer a question could result in California-mandated clauses, or required information, to be missing and render the Contract void.

 

If the parties decide not to electronically sign this contract, be sure that the Notice of Right to Cancel is signed on the same day as the Contract itself is signed.

 

For further information and resources, please see California Business and Professions Code Sections 7150-7168 and the California Contractors State License Board website: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/

Attach a copy of the work description.

 

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Home Improvement Contract FAQs

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  • Does a home improvement contractor need to make a contract for home improvement services?

    Whether you are doing a full remodel or building a small addition, having documentation of any commitments to the client is critical. You may decide that you want to use this document because, when done properly, it presents this list of helpful benefits:

    • The home improvement contractor and property owner both understand their responsibilities
    • There are no surprises about how long the project will last
    • Both parties know when invoicing will happen

    Some consequences of not having this document in place include underpayment, confusion on timing, impractical expectations, and more concerns.

  • How are Home Improvement Contracts organized?

    The details needed for your Home Improvement Contract are listed below:

    • Your client's contact information
    • What fees will be charged and when
    • What the duration of the project is
    • What tasks you will be doing once hired

    As you might expect for an agreement like this, any Home Improvement Contract made with Rocket Lawyer will also contain the standard legalese regarding the independent work relationship, the protection of confidential information, and finally, restitution for losses. While building your agreement, you also will be able to designate its state of jurisdiction. With the Rocket Lawyer document tool, you have the power to implement further personalized editing, if necessary.

  • What is HIC home improvement certification?

    Some states like California require that any contractor or subcontractor who engages in home improvement work be certified. A HIC home improvement certification demonstrates a contractor or subcontractor's knowledge of home improvement contract law. Requirements for certification vary by location.

  • How do I get a custom home improvement contract template online for free?

    In order to create a Home Improvement Contract online for free with Rocket Lawyer, you can tap or click the button that says "Make document" to get started. You will then answer a set of questions about your situation to help generate your custom contract. Before signing your Home Improvement Agreement, it is recommended that you try asking an attorney in our Rocket Lawyer On Call® network to review it for you. This route is, in most cases, much more affordable and convenient than hiring and working with a conventional attorney where invoices might total anywhere from several hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the complexity of your situation.

    If you have any questions or hesitations about how to move forward, ask an attorney today. You should also feel free to browse our full library of contracts and other legal documents .

  • Are time and materials contracts legal in every state?

    No, time and materials contracts for home improvement projects are not legal in every state. Ask a lawyer , or check with the Contractors State Licensing Board in your state to determine if time and materials contracts are allowed.

  • Would Rocket Lawyer check my Home Improvement Contract?

    Depending on who is contacted, some attorneys will not even accept requests to review your contract if they were not the ones who drafted it. A more favorable approach might be to request help from Rocket Lawyer On Call® network of attorneys. By becoming a Premium member, you will be able to request guidance from an attorney with business experience or pose other questions about your Home Improvement Agreement. We're always here to help.

  • What are my next steps once I make a contract for home improvement?

    In order to turn your document into a legally binding agreement, you need to sign it. RocketSign® enables you to get signatures quickly. When you're finished, make sure that all signers receive a copy of your fully executed agreement. As a Rocket Lawyer member, you also will be able to make a copy, print, and save it in Word or PDF format when needed.

  • Can a client refuse to pay a contractor?

    Unsurprisingly, clients may often refuse to pay a contractor because they are unhappy with the work performed. In this instance, both parties should talk through the problem to find a solution that is accepted by everyone involved. If a solution cannot be found after communication, then legal action will most likely have to be taken. If a client continues to refuse to pay, then the contractor can file a Mechanic's Lien on their property.

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