[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Kenilworth 11-27-1996 by Ord. No. 96-22. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The governing body of the Borough of Kenilworth has recognized, with great concern, the growing number of instances in which the residents of the borough, particularly senior citizens, are being taken advantage of, misled and/or deceived by persons holding themselves out to be contractors in performance of home improvement contracts. The purpose of this chapter is to establish a mechanism by which any person holding himself or herself out to be a home improvement contractor shall be required to register with the Borough of Kenilworth Construction Department and obtain a license to conduct business within the borough. By establishing a central registry, the residents will be able to obtain basic information on a contractor's work experience and other factors that may be considered in making a decision to contract the service of such person.
The following words and phrases, as used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, unless the context indicates a different meaning:
- Borough of Kenilworth.
- CONSTRUCTION OFFICIAL
- Construction Official of the Borough of Kenilworth.
- An oral or written agreement between a contractor or his duly designated agent and an owner or his agent for the performance of a home improvement, as such term is defined herein, and includes all labor, services and materials to be furnished or performed thereunder.
- Any person, other than a bona fide employee of the owner, who carries out, engages in, undertakes or holds himself out to others as performing or available to perform one or more home improvements, as defined herein.
- A person who works under the direct supervision of the property owner and who does not select or provide materials for the job or work to be performed.
- HOME IMPROVEMENT
- Any repair, remodeling, alteration, conversion, modernization, improvement or addition to residential property and/or any appurtenances thereto, 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, cabinets, carpentry, central air conditioners or vacuum cleaners, construction, demolition, dormers, driveways, extensions, fencing, flagpoles, flooring, garages, heating, kitchens, masonry, pavings, railings, roofings, septic tanks, siding, sprinklers, storm windows and screens, swimming pools, tennis courts, tile, waterproofing, weatherproofing, ventilation and any other activity that is now considered or may hereafter be defined as a home improvement but shall not include:
- (1) 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.
- (2) Improvements to residences owned by or controlled by any governmental subdivision.
- (3) Landscaping.
- (4) Interior decorating of residences.
- (5) Exterior painting.
- LICENSE YEAR
- The twelve-month period beginning the first day of January of each year and ending on December 31 of the same year.
- Any owner, lessor, tenant or user of property or any other person who orders, contracts for or purchases the services of a home improvement contractor or any person entitled to the performance of such service pursuant to a home improvement contract.
- Any individual, partnership, limited partnership, association, corporation, trust or other legally recognizable entity.
No person shall act as a contractor in the borough except in compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Any person, including an owner, who willfully aids a contractor or participates with a contractor in violating any provision of this chapter is in violation of this chapter. The provisions of this chapter may not be waived by agreement.
Any contractor providing home improvements as defined in § 80-2 for an owner shall, prior to providing such service, obtain a license to do so from the Construction Official of the borough.
Applications for licensing as required by § 80-4 shall be made to the Construction Official on a form furnished by the Code Enforcement Department.
The application shall set forth the following information:
The applicant's name, business name (if different from applicant's name) and business address.
Whether the applicant is an individual, a partnership, a corporation or any other entity and, if another entity, a full explanation and description thereof.
If the applicant is an individual, the applicant's residence address and social security number.
If the applicant is a partnership, the full names, residence addresses and social security numbers of each partner.
If the applicant is a corporation or other entity:
In the case of a corporation, the full names, and residence addresses of each officer and each stockholder, the name and address of the registered agent and the address of the principal office. (The term "stockholder," as used herein, means and includes any person owning or having an interest, either legal or equitable, in 10% or more of the stock issued and outstanding of the applicant corporation.)
In the case of another entity, the full names and residence addresses, of each person owning or having an interest, either legal or equitable, aggregating in value 10% or more of the total ownership of said entity, the name and address of the registered agent, if any, and the address of the principal office.
The corporation's or entity's tax identification (ID) number.
Whether the applicant or any partners, officers or stockholders thereof have ever been convicted of a crime and, if so, the name of the person convicted, the date of the conviction, the crime or charge involved and the disposition thereof (the term "officers," as used herein means and includes the president, vice presidents, secretary and treasurer of a corporate applicant); or whether any of the aforementioned persons have ever been penalized or cited for violating any state, county or municipal laws, ordinances or regulations related to construction or demolition activities within the State of New Jersey or any other state of the United States.
The number of years the applicant has been in business at its present business address or at any prior location, including the addresses of such prior locations, if any.
Whether the applicant has ever been charged with or convicted of a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act (N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.) or the regulations related to home improvement contracts (N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1 et seq.) and, if so, the date place and nature of the charge and the disposition of same.
Upon receipt of such application, authorized personnel of the Code Enforcement Department shall review the same with reference to the truth of the matters contained in the application and for the purpose of obtaining a copy of any police record which the applicant or any partner, officer or stockholder thereof may have.
The Construction Official shall issue a license pursuant to this chapter unless it is determined that there are material misrepresentations or statements of fact in the application and/or the applicant or any of its officers or stockholders have outstanding criminal charges for or a history of violating the consumer fraud statute or an adjudication of civil liability for violation of the consumer fraud statute which have resulted in fines, penalties, restitution or money damages any of which have not been satisfied at the time the application is submitted or at any time during which the license is valid.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the official transactions of any authorized representative of the government of the United States, any state or commonwealth of the United States, any political subdivision of any state or commonwealth or any agency or instrumentality of the foregoing governments.
No contractor's license shall be required of any person when acting in a particular capacity or particular type of transaction as follows:
A person who performs labor or services for a contractor for wages or salary.
A person or entity who is working as a subcontractor to a contractor on a home improvement project and where there is no contractual relationship between the subcontractor and the owner, provided that the contractor for whom the subcontractor is working for holds a current license pursuant to this chapter.
New construction where the contractor must be registered pursuant to the New Home Warranty and Builders Registration Act and for which a new home warranty is required to be applied for as a condition to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.
Any construction activity not defined as a home improvement or which is specifically exempted elsewhere in this chapter.
Each applicant applying for a contractor's license shall pay to the Construction Department a fee of $25 for a new license and $25 thereafter for each renewal license.
Any license or renewal license issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on December 31 of the calendar year in which it was issued.
As a condition to the renewal of a license issued pursuant to this chapter, the licensee shall file with the Construction Department, along with the payment of the renewal fee, an affidavit on a form to be provided by the Department stating that there has been no material change to the information provided on the initial application or, if there has been, a detailed statement of such change. The Construction Official will then append the affidavit to the original application as part of the licensee's permanent file.
If the renewal affidavit is found to be in order the Construction Official shall issue a renewal license.
The Construction Official may revoke a current license or deny a renewal license for any one or more of the following reasons which shall be set forth in writing and delivered to the applicant in person or by regular mail, postage prepaid, at the address that appears on the application:
A licensee's habitual failure to comply with federal, state and/or locally mandated or required construction standards and/or codes.
The altering of plans submitted to the Construction Department to obtain a permit without first receiving approval from the Construction Official.
Failure to obtain a construction permit where required.
Willfully concealing or attempt to conceal a construction code violation.
The failure to satisfy any fine, penalty, restitution or judgment resulting from a criminal conviction or adjudication of civil liability for violation of any provision of the Consumer Fraud Act (N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.) and/or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder related to home improvement contracts (N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1 et seq.).
For any other reason or cause which may justifiably warrant revocation or nonrenewal.
If the Construction Official denies the issuance of a license or revokes or refuses to renew a license pursuant to this chapter, the licensee or applicant, as the case may be, may appeal such decision by giving written notice of his or her appeal in the manner and form prescribed herein:
Written notice of the appeal shall be delivered to the Borough Clerk within 10 days of the date of the Construction Official's written decision.
The notice of appeal shall state the name and address of the applicant and a clear, concise statement of the reasons why the Construction Official's decision to deny the issuance or reissuance of the license or revoke the license, was not justified. A copy of the Construction Official's denial or revocation letter shall be attached to the notice of appeal.
The Clerk shall stamp the notice of appeal "received" and note the date upon which it was received on the notice and provide the applicant with a copy thereof. The Clerk shall then forward the notice of appeal to the Mayor and Council, who shall fix a day and time for hearing which shall not be later than 30 days after the notice of appeal is received by the Clerk.
The Clerk shall send written notice of the hearing date and time to the applicant, which notice shall be sent by first class mail, postage prepaid, to the name and address that appears on the notice of appeal, at least 10 days in advance of the scheduled hearing date.
The applicant shall have the right to appear before the Mayor and Council, call witnesses and present evidence in support of his or her case. The applicant may also be represented by counsel. The Construction Official shall appear and may, at his discretion or if required to by the governing body, give testimony and call witnesses in support of his position. The rules of evidence shall not apply to the hearing.
The governing body shall, within 30 days after the hearing, issue a written decision affirming, reversing or modifying the action of the Construction Official and shall provide the applicant with a copy of such written decision no later than seven days after it is issued by mailing the same to applicant at the address that appears on the notice of appeal by regular first class mail, postage prepaid.
Any person who is refused a license or denied a renewal license or has had a license revoked pursuant to this chapter shall be entitled to reapply for such license after a period of 180 days from the date of such refusal, denial or revocation. However, if such denial, revocation or refusal is based on the person's failure to satisfy any fine, penalty, restitution or judgment resulting from a criminal conviction or adjudication of civil liability under the Consumer Fraud Act (N.J.S.A. 56:8-1 et seq.) and/or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder pertaining to home improvement contracts (N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1 et seq.), such person shall not be entitled to reapply until such fine, penalty, restitution or judgment has been satisfied and provides the Construction Official with satisfactory proof to that effect.
The Construction Official and/or his designee shall have the power and authority to enforce and insure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
Any person or firm which fails to obtain a license required by this chapter or which otherwise is found to have violated any provision contained herein shall be subject to the following penalty:
In addition to the fines that may be imposed, a violator may also be imprisoned for a period not to exceed 90 days for each separate offense.