Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Victor A. Rotolo
Badge - Rated by Super Lawyers Anthony P. Kearns third
Badge - Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Badge - Multi Million Dollar Advocates Forums
Badge - New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Attorney
Badge - New Jersey's Best Lawyers For Families 2018
Badge - AV Preeminent Victor A. Rotolo 2024
Badge - Client Champion Gold 2024
Badge - Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce
Badge - Top 100 The National Trial Lawyers
Please click Award & Selection Criteria & Methodology for information regarding the specific criteria used for selection of each of the above awards.

September 2017 - The Pitfalls of Using Unlicensed Contractors

Hammer and Nail Fall weather is perfect for home improvements – not too hot, not too cold, and the days are still long enough to get things done. But even devout “do-it-yourselfers” know some projects are better left to professionals. Do your homework before hiring to avoid these risks:

Home Improvement Fraud – This complaint was number two on the Top 10 Consumer Complaints list last year (down from the number one spot it occupied since 2010), according to the State’s Department of Law and Public Safety. Unlicensed contractors aren’t accountable to anyone whereas licensed contractors are regulated by the states in which they do business.

Most consumer fraud complaints relate to poor workmanship, missed deadlines and failure to start or complete projects. New Jersey’s Home Improvement Practices Act aims to protect consumers and requires contractors put certain things in writing, including:

  • contractor’s name, address and registration number;
  • project start and end dates;
  • description and cost of work to be performed; and
  • description of supplies and materials.

Additionally, New Jersey requires a general contractor have a minimum of $500,000 in contractor’s liability insurance per instance for registration.

Financial Liabilities – It may be tempting to go with lower-cost unlicensed contractors, but licensed general contractors carry the mandatory contractors’ liability insurance and its employees and subcontractors are covered by worker’s compensation insurance as required to cover damages or injuries. If you don’t have a licensed general contractor, that liability falls on you.

Recruiting a friend to help with your project isn’t the answer. Your friend’s insurance may cover medical expenses if he or she gets injured, but that insurance company can then seek reimbursement from you through a subrogation proceeding.

Most homeowner’s insurance policies aren’t enough to cover extensive medical expenses, lost wages, or expensive damage repairs. In fact, most policies contain exclusions for such claims.

Conclusion: Taking shortcuts on your home improvement project isn’t worth the risk; that being said, enjoy the results of your next home improvement project!

What Our Clients are Saying

I was very proud to be represented by Tony and felt secure at a time I needed a compass to head out of a difficult bind. Confidence in your counsel and a sense of security in understanding how best to proceed are important reasons to consider Anthony Kearns and his team of outstanding lawyers.

- Lynn

Tony was excellent! He was knowledgeable, responsive and on-time. His experience as a County Prosecutor definitely helped our case as he knows how the legal system works and how to navigate. I highly recommend Tony and his office.

- Matt

Thankfully I found Kearns Rotolo Law and I had a wonderful experience working with Charles Rifici on a difficult divorce/child custody issue. I am so grateful for all the work and guidance he provided. He always took his time and diligently went through all my options with me so I could make the decisions that benefitted my family and I. I will be forever thankful for the top notch services he provided.

- Cinthya

In March of 2022 I contacted Kearns Rotolo Law Firm with an urgent problem, Mr. Kearns and Mr. Rotolo contacted me immediately to give me hope as to rectify my problem. The end result was Mr Kearns was able to solve my issue through extreme professionalism, I am very grateful I found Kearns Rotolo Law firm and I would recommend their law firm to anyone that has a less extreme problem or a more complex problem, I am very grateful for their services.

- Bill

I met with Mr. Kearns yesterday about a devastating situation affecting our family. Mr. Kearns and his entire staff made us feel extremely comfortable and showed our family a compassionate side that gave us comfort in the most uncomfortable of situations. Thank you very much. God Bless.

- Christian