[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of East Hampton 12-2-1977 as Ch. 89 of the 1977 Code; amended in its entirety 3-1-2012 by L.L. No. 6-2012. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter of the Town Code shall be known and may be cited as the "Town of East Hampton Home Improvement Contractors Law."
The undertaking of new home construction, additions, or improvements and repairs to residential property is an important economic activity employing a large number of Town residents and affecting a growing number of persons owning and renting homes in East Hampton Town.
With the increasing number of first and second homes in the Town, the number of home improvement contracting complaints and problems has risen. The present Town licensing system for home improvement contractors is inadequate in the protection it affords to Town homeowners against shoddy, incompetent work or deceptive practices involving home improvement work.
It is the intention of the East Hampton Town Board to provide herein for a strengthened system of local licensing of home improvement contractors in order to more fully protect homeowners and responsible home improvement contractors alike.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- HOME IMPROVEMENT
- New home construction, and/or any repair, remodeling, alteration, conversion, modernization, improvement or addition to existing residential premises and/or improvements, regardless of the zoning district in which such property may be situated, and shall include but not be limited to any such activity with regard to additions, alarm systems, awnings, basements, bathrooms, bulkheads, cabinets, carpentry, central air conditioners or vacuum cleaners, cesspools, decks, docks, dormers, driveways, electrical systems, extensions, extermination, fencing, flagpoles, flooring, fumigation, garages, gutters, heating, jetties, kitchens, landscaping, landscape contracting, masonry, interior or exterior painting, plumbing, railings, renovations or remodeling, roofing, septic tanks, siding, solar/wind energy systems, sprinklers, storm windows and screens, swimming pools, tennis courts, termite control, tile, waterproofing, weatherproofing and ventilation, but shall not include:
- A. The sale of goods by a seller who neither arranges to perform nor performs, directly or indirectly, any work or labor in connection with the installation or application of the goods sold.
- B. The sale of goods to a home improvement contractor by a supplier who neither arranges to perform nor performs, directly or indirectly, any work or labor in connection with the installation or application of the goods or materials.
- C. The sale or installation of appliances, such as stoves, refrigerators, freezers, room air conditioners, dishwashers or clothes washers or dryers, which are designed for and to be removable from the premises without material alteration thereof.
- D. The sale or installation of decorative goods or services, such as draperies and carpets.
- HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT
- A written agreement between a home improvement contractor or his duly designated agent and an owner or his agent for the performance of a home improvement, and includes all labor, services, and materials to be furnished or performed thereunder. All contracts for home improvements shall conform to the requirements of General Business Law § 771.
- HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTOR
- Any person who carries out, engages in, undertakes or holds himself out to others as performing or available to perform one or more home improvements, or any person providing management or construction administration services to an owner for one or more home improvements, as defined herein.
- HOME MAINTENANCE
- The keeping in a state of repair or efficiency residential property as defined herein, limited to simple repair or maintenance of existing facilities and systems. This definition shall include minor, casual and inconsequential work performed in connection with the seasonal opening and closing of residences. This definition shall not include any alterations of, replacements to, or additions to the original or existing design, layout or function of a residence or any other home improvement, as defined herein.
- LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR
- Any person who installs, on behalf of a residential property owner, lawns, hedges, trees and other plantings and who also, as a part of such services, installs any structural elements such as patios, decks, retaining walls, drywells, in-ground irrigation systems, lighting or any other structural elements. Classification shall depend upon the activities undertaken by the party and shall not be based upon the inclusion or omission of the words "gardener," "grounds maintenance," "landscaper" or similar words in a business name.
- A person who engages in the cutting and maintenance of grass; the trimming, pruning and maintenance of shrubs, plants, trees or other foliage; the spraying of chemicals, including the application of pesticides; and the removal of trees and/or tree stumps.
- A person holding a valid East Hampton Town home improvement contractor's license ("license") and therefore permitted to engage in the home improvement business under the provisions of this chapter.
- LICENSING REVIEW BOARD
- The local agency established by this chapter to review complaints against home improvement contractors, decide upon the validity thereof and impose administrative sanctions therefor.
- Any owner, lessor, tenant or user of residential property or any other person who orders, contracts for or purchases the services of a home improvement contractor or any person entitled to performance of such service pursuant to a home improvement contract, but such definition shall not include any person who is retained specifically to provide construction management or administration for one or more specific home improvements.
- Any individual, firm, business, association, partnership, corporation or other recognizable legal entity.
- PLACE OF BUSINESS
- Any shop, residence, place or premises from which a home improvement business is transacted.
- RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- A one- or two-family residence or a condominium unit or cooperative apartment unit and the property or portion thereof upon which such improvements are located which is used or intended to be used for such purposes.
- SHODDY WORKMANSHIP
- Work which fails to meet the minimum requirements set forth in the current edition of the Long Island Builders Institute (LIBI) standards manual entitled "Accepted Building Standards," which standards represent the generally accepted standards or workmanship for contractors on Long Island.
- TOWN CLERK
- The Clerk of the Town of East Hampton or his duly assigned designee.
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
It is unlawful for any persons, other than those exempt under the provisions of § 156-5, to engage in the home improvement contracting business in the Town of East Hampton without first obtaining a license from the East Hampton Town Clerk's office in accordance with and subject to the provisions of this chapter. Such license or a copy thereof shall be available at all of the contractor's work sites and shall be produced to any official having jurisdiction upon demand. All subcontractors engaged in providing home improvement, who are not employees of a licensed home improvement contractor, must have their own respective home improvement contractor's license.
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
An owner of residential property carrying out, engaging in, or undertaking a home improvement or home improvements on residential property which they own.
An electrical contractor, engaged solely in performing electrical work, who holds a valid electrical contractor's license from the Suffolk County Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
An individual employee of a licensee who is paid wages or salary by such licensee for his work.
A member or partner of a firm, partnership or other entity which is a licensed home improvement contractor who performs labor or services for such licensee.
A stockholder or officer of a licensee corporation who performs labor or services for such licensee.
An architect, professional engineer or any other person who is required by state, county, or Town law to attain standards of competency or experience as a prerequisite to engaging in such craft or profession and who is acting exclusively within the scope of the craft or profession for which he is currently certified or licensed.
Applicants for licenses pursuant to this chapter shall file a written, signed and verified application with the Town Clerk. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, of good character and financially responsible. Where the applicant is a corporation, the application shall be signed and verified by an officer thereof. When the applicant is a firm, partnership or other entity, the application shall be signed and verified by a member or partner thereof. Applications shall set forth the following information:
The name, trade name and business address of applicant.
If the applicant is an individual, his name and residence address; if the applicant is a corporation, the names and residence addresses of the officers thereof; if the applicant is a firm, partnership or other entity, the names and residence addresses of the members or partners thereof.
Whether or not there are any outstanding liens or judgments against the applicant.
Such other reasonable information as the Licensing Review Board may deem necessary or advisable to facilitate purposes of and enforcement of this chapter, including but not limited to the following:
The names and residence addresses of any employees of the applicant.
The names and residence addresses of the stockholders and directors of a corporate applicant.
Whether or not the applicant or any member, partner, officer, stockholder or employee thereof ever engaged in a home improvement business under another name or for another person and, if so, reasonable information with respect thereto.
Information relating to the financial responsibility and character of the applicant.
Information regarding convictions of the applicant and/or its employees, stockholders or directors for violations of local, county or state law within the past three years for building, zoning, sanitary, fire, electrical, health environmental, or criminal violations. For purposes of this subsection, convictions of employees shall include those imposed in connection with home improvements performed on behalf of the applicant/employer.
First-time applicants for a license shall provide proof of 10 classroom hours of continuing education within the year prior to application. If the applicant is a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, then one individual as listed on the application as required by § 156-6B shall be designated by the entity to provide proof of the required continuing education. The designated individual by the corporation, limited liability company or partnership will be responsible for obtaining all 10 hours of continuing education, and the 10 hours of continuing education shall not be split between multiple members. Such continuing education shall be provided by a recognized training facility such as an accredited college or university providing construction or construction-related courses towards a construction-related degree or courses provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or certified safety courses approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or be otherwise approved as continuing education courses that the Town Clerk has determined qualify as suitable for continuing education credits. The Town Clerk will maintain a list of continuing education courses that she has determined qualify as educational credit for the applicant's review.
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015; 1-5-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017]
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
Applicants for a renewal license shall provide all of the information required pursuant to § 156-6 above; except the applicant shall include proof that the renewal applicant has completed 10 classroom hours of continuing education, as set forth in § 156-6 above, in the two years immediately prior to the date of the renewal application.
Any home improvement contractor whose principal place of business is located in the County of Suffolk and who holds a valid license issued by the Suffolk County Department of Consumer Affairs, pursuant to Chapters 275 and/or 345 of the Suffolk County Code, permitting him to conduct or engage in the home improvement, plumbing, or electrical contracting business, shall be entitled to a license under this chapter upon filing with their application satisfactory proof that they meet the conditions provided for herein.
A contractor shall have a certificate of insurance covering liability and workers' compensation, if required by law, upon applying for a home improvement license and shall maintain said policies and file current certificates indicating said coverage during the period the license is in effect. The Town of East Hampton shall be listed as an additional insured on the insurance certificate. Failure to maintain said coverage will provide grounds for revocation of the license pursuant to § 156-15.
The Town Board shall by resolution establish a fee to be paid by all applicants for a home improvement license at the time application is made for the same. Such fee shall be nonrefundable. The Town Board shall also by resolution establish the fee to be paid to the Town at the time of annual renewals of a license. Such fee shall be nonrefundable. The Town Board may, from time to time by resolution, amend the amount of the application and renewal fees established by this section. The two fees may but need not be the same.
After the filing of an application for a license or renewal thereof and payment of the required fee, the Town Clerk shall examine the application and make such investigation as it deems necessary or advisable. Upon completion of the same, the Town Clerk shall issue a license unless it finds that the applicant is unfit or undesirable to carry on such home improvement business or is incapable of properly conducting such home improvement business, in which event it shall deny the license.
The Town Clerk shall notify the applicant of any denial of an application for a license or renewal. Such notice shall be in writing, shall be served on the applicant personally or by certified mail and shall specify the ground(s) for the denial. The notice shall be accompanied by a statement that the applicant may request an appeal hearing before the Licensing Review Board by submitting a written request therefor within 20 days. The procedure to be followed by the Licensing Review Board shall be as set forth in § 156-15 hereof.
Term. Any license issued hereunder shall expire two years after its date of issuance, unless suspended or revoked as hereinafter provided.
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
No entitlements. Issuance of a license shall create no presumption that the licensee is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter or that the licensee is entitled to the license at any future time.
No assignment. No license issued under this chapter shall be transferred or assigned to any person or used by any person other than the licensee to whom it was issued.
Other licensed business. A license issued hereunder shall not be construed to authorize the licensee to perform any work or engage in any kind of business which is reserved to qualified licensees under separate provisions of state or Town law.
Posting and display. A license issued hereunder shall at all times be posted conspicuously in the place of business (or commercial vehicle if there is no other place of business) of the licensee, and such license or a copy thereof shall be produced for any owner upon demand. A copy of the license shall be available for inspection at any worksite within the Town and shall be produced upon demand of any Town official.
Report of changes. Every licensee shall, within 10 days after a change of control, ownership or management, change of trade name or change of address, notify the Town Clerk, in writing, of such change.
Zoning. The holder of any home improvement contractor's license issued under this chapter agrees that, as an additional condition of the issuance of said license to operate within the Town of East Hampton, he or she shall plan, execute and complete all home improvements in strict compliance with the terms of the East Hampton Town Zoning Code then in effect, as well as any and all permits and/or conditions of approval issued by any federal, state and/or local agency.
Upon approval of an application, the Town Clerk shall issue a sticker for each vehicle associated with the home improvement contractor business, which shall be attached to the upper left rear exterior windshield of the vehicle or on the rear bumper and shall be kept clear and readable at all times. Failure to post and maintain such sticker shall be a violation of this chapter. The Town Board shall by resolution establish a fee to be paid by all licensees for each vehicle identification decal issued. The Town Board may, from time to time by resolution, amend the amount of the fee established by this section.
Formation and composition.
There is hereby established in and for the Town of East Hampton a Home Improvement Contractors Licensing Review Board ("Licensing Review Board") consisting of five members, appointed by the Town Board for terms of five years. Initially, five appointments shall be made, for terms of one through five years, respectively. Thereafter, one appointment for a term of five years shall be made each year by the Town Board.
The Town Board shall designate one member of the Licensing Review Board to serve as Chairman thereof.
A majority of all members of the Licensing Review Board shall constitute a quorum thereof.
Members of the Licensing Review Board shall be residents of the Town and shall be paid compensation and expenses in an amount to be determined from time to time by resolution of the Town Board.
At least one member of the Licensing Review Board shall be a home improvement contractor who resides and has his place of business in the Town.
Powers and duties. The Licensing Review Board shall have the authority to:
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
Hold meetings at regular times and places for the efficient discharge of the responsibilities and duties of the Board.
Make rules for the conduct of its meetings and keep a minute book of its proceedings, including a record of its examinations and other official actions.
Make such reasonable investigation as it deems necessary or advisable with regard to possible violations of this chapter or of any license which shall have been issued or applied for hereunder.
Call and conduct meetings and, after a hearing to which the licensee is given at least 10 days' written notice and at which all interested parties are afforded a sufficient opportunity to be heard, fine a licensee and/or suspend, modify, condition, limit or revoke a previously issued license; or to direct the Town Clerk to issue a license or license renewal previously denied by him and/or to accept credits for continuing education previously denied by him. In this regard, the Board shall:
Conduct hearings to consider facts or circumstances of which it has become aware through its own investigation or through investigation by the Town Clerk and which facts and circumstances, if true, would provide a basis for imposition of a fine or for the modification, limitation, suspension or revocation of a home improvement contractor's license issued hereunder.
Hear and determine any complaint or grievance made to it in writing by an owner in the Town which, if found to be true, would provide a basis for imposition of a fine or for the modification, limitation, suspension or revocation of a home improvement contractor's license issued hereunder.
Keep records of licenses issued, suspended or revoked, make and maintain such other records as may be useful in the performance of its duties and adopt guidelines for making such records available for public inspection.
Formulate and recommend to the Town Board for adoption changes to the provisions of this chapter governing the standards for and issuance of home improvement contractor's licenses.
With regard to owner's complaints or grievances, the Licensing Review Board shall determine whether or not to take jurisdiction. In the event that it shall deny jurisdiction, such determination shall be made in writing, and a copy shall be mailed to the complainant.
With regard to hearings held to determine whether to fine a licensee and/or to modify, limit, suspend or revoke any home improvement contractor's license, written notice shall be served on the licensee(s) personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the place of business of the licensee as set forth in the contractor's most recent license application or renewal, or in such notice of change received by the Town Clerk subsequent to the most recent license application or renewal, at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing. A notice shall also be published in the official newspaper. Notice shall specify the time and place of the hearing and the ground(s) which will be the subject of the hearing and shall clearly state that the purpose of the hearing is to determine whether to fine the licensee or to modify, limit, suspend or revoke one or more licenses.
Any determination by the Licensing Review Board to fine a licensee and/or to modify, limit, suspend or revoke a home improvement contractor's license shall be made after a duly noticed public hearing, by resolution, in writing, and shall specify the ground(s) upon which it is based.
The Licensing Review Board may place conditions or limitations on a home improvement contractor's license for a period not to exceed two years. It may suspend a license for a period not to exceed one year. After the suspension period, the licensee may make application to the Town Clerk for renewal of his license. In the event that the Licensing Review Board shall revoke a license, the licensee may apply for a new license not less than one year after the date of such revocation; the Town Clerk shall not grant an application for a home improvement contractor's license to a contractor, or any officer, director, shareholder (except shareholders of publicly traded companies), member or partner thereof where such contractor's prior license had been suspended or revoked but shall refer the matter to the Licensing Review Board, which shall hear and determine the case as if the Town Clerk had denied the application.
In lieu of fining a licensee and/or modifying, limiting, suspending or revoking a license as above provided, the Licensing Review Board may require in its determination that a home improvement contractor repair defective or deficient work done by him or may accept a written agreement of compromise or settlement (involving new work or payment of money, or both) between the home improvement contractor and the owner/complainant.
The statute of limitations for Licensing Review Board consideration of complaints shall be one year from the date on which the contractor in question last performed work at the premises described in the complaint.
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
In addition to any conduct specifically prohibited by other sections or provisions of this chapter, no person shall:
Failure to perform: abandon or willfully fail to perform, without justification, any home improvement contract entered into;
Deviation: willfully deviate from or disregard agreed-upon home improvement contract specifications or estimates in any material respect without consent of the other contracting party;
Misrepresentation in contract solicitation: make any substantial misrepresentation in the solicitation or procurement of a home improvement contract or make any false promise likely to influence, persuade or induce an owner to enter into such a contract;
False advertising: directly or indirectly publish any advertising relating to goods or services offered in connection with home improvement which contains an assertion, representation or statement of fact which is false, deceptive or misleading; provided, however, that an advertisement which is subject to and complies with then-existing rules, regulations or guidelines of the Federal Trade Commission shall not be deemed to be false, deceptive or misleading hereunder;
No intent: advertise or purport to offer the general public or any owner any contract with the intent not to accept said contract for the particular work at the price or under other particular terms advertised or offered;
Name change: conduct a home improvement contracting business in any name other than the one for which a license has been obtained hereunder;
Shoddy workmanship: engage in workmanship which fails to meet the minimum requirements set forth in the Long Island Builders Institute (LIBI) standards as set forth in "Accepted Building Standards" (Long Island Builders Institute, Inc.), which standards represent the generally accepted standards or workmanship for contractors on Long Island;
Contract execution: execute any contract, agreement, or change order on behalf of the contractor by any person other than those set forth in the contractor's application pursuant to § 156-6 hereof;
Insurance: conduct or engage in any home improvement activity without the minimum coverage required by this chapter and/or fail to notify the Town Clerk of the loss of any such coverage;
Application misrepresentation: make any substantive misrepresentation or omission on any home improvement contractor's license application or renewal application;
License production: fail to maintain on site or to produce upon demand by any Town official a copy of the contractor's current home improvement contractor's license;
Work without necessary approvals and permits: perform any home improvement prior to all the necessary approvals and permits being issued and posted as required for said home improvement; or
Violate a stop-work order: continue work after the issuance of stop-work order or other similar order issued by an agency or department of the Town of East Hampton, Suffolk County, or the State of New York.
[Amended 8-6-2015 by L.L. No. 27-2015]
A person shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter when he:
Conducts or engages in any home improvement project or business without having first obtained a license therefor, except as provided for in this chapter.
Conducts or engages in any home improvement project or business not authorized by his home improvement contractor's license.
Conducts or engages in any such home improvement project or business while his license is suspended or revoked.
Conducts, engages in or carries out any particular home improvement or home improvement activity specifically prohibited by his license as modified or limited by action of the Licensing Review Board hereunder.
For the purposes of the preceding subsection, a person shall be deemed to have conducted or engaged in a home improvement business when he enters into a contract with an owner wherein he agrees to carry out a home improvement. Each such contract entered into and each and every day of actual home improvement business, activity or work engaged in or conducted pursuant to such contract or of particular prohibited conduct shall constitute a separate and distinct violation of this chapter.
Upon conviction of any violation as above defined and set forth in this chapter, a person shall be punishable for each and every violation as follows:
For conviction of a first offense, the imposition of a fine not exceeding $1,000 or limitation, suspension or revocation of the contractor's home improvement contractor's license for a period of up to one year pursuant to the provisions of § 156-15 hereof, or both;
For conviction of a second offense, both of which were committed within a period of five years, the imposition of a fine not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,500 or limitation, suspension or revocation of the contractor's home improvement contractor's license for a period of up to one year pursuant to the provisions of § 156-15 hereof, or both;
For conviction of a third or subsequent offense, all of which were committed within a period of five years, the imposition of a fine not less than $2,500 nor more than $5,000 or limitation, suspension or revocation of the contractor's home improvement contractor's license for a period of up to one year pursuant to the provisions of § 156-15 hereof, or both.
Payment of all fines imposed by the Licensing Review Board shall be delivered to the Town Clerk within 120 days of the date of filing of the determination of the Board. In the event that payment is not made within the aforementioned period, no license or renewal license shall be approved until such fines have been paid in full.
The Town of East Hampton may enter into cooperative agreements with the incorporated villages located in the Town for the performance by the Town of the functions, powers and duties relating to administration and enforcement of local laws adopted by such villages requiring a license in order to conduct or engage in home improvement businesses in such villages. Such cooperative agreements may provide, among other things, that the Town Clerk shall serve as the licensing officer under such local laws, that the Town Licensing Review Board shall serve as the licensing review board designated to hear appeals and modify, limit, suspend or revoke licenses under such village local laws, that application fees under such local laws shall be paid to the Town of East Hampton and that a license issued by the Town of East Hampton shall serve as the license required under this chapter and under such village local laws so that a licensee will be permitted to engage in the home improvement business in any such villages and in the Town of East Hampton by obtaining one license and paying one application or renewal fee therefor.
A license issued by the Town prior to the effective date of this chapter shall continue to remain in full force and effect until its expiration or termination unless sooner revoked or suspended for cause.
The application fee provided for in this chapter shall not apply to a home improvement contractor whose principal place of business is located in any town or village which has adopted a local law or ordinance containing a reciprocal provision applicable to home improvement contractors having their principal place of business in the Town of East Hampton outside of the incorporated villages and which in fact does not charge such East Hampton-based persons a fee for a home improvement contractor's license to operate in such Town or village.
Should any section or provision of this chapter be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of this chapter as a whole or other part thereof.