of last resort to provide limited compensation to
owners for judgments against contractors that have
not/cannot satisfy them.
• A homeowner may apply to the Fund for
compensation within six months after obtaining a
judgment or arbitration award if all of the following
conditions are met: all building permits were
obtained by the contractor; the court or arbitrator
rules that the work was performed in a poor or
unworkmanlike manner, or was in violation of a
consumer protection statutes (such as Mass. Gen.
L. ch. 93A or Mass. Gen. L. ch. 142A, § 17); and the
homeowner has exhausted all customary and
reasonable efforts to collect the judgment before
applying to the Fund.
• The Fund Administrator will seek reimbursement
from the contractor or subcontractor responsible for
the claim after making payment out of the Fund to a
• If a contractor has not repaid the Fund within thirty
days of notification from the Fund Administrator, the
Administrator may recommend that the contractor’s
registration be revoked.
• Following revocation for failure to repay the
Fund, the contractor will not be eligible for renewed
registration until the entire amount of the claim,
including interest from the date of disbursement,
has been repaid.
• The Attorney General may initiate legal
proceedings against the contractor/subcontractor
for the amount of the claim satisfied by the Fund.
• If the chief administrator of the Board of Building
Regulations and Standards determines that a
contractor or subcontractor has violated the HIC
statute, he may suspend or revoke a certificate of
registration, reprimand the registrant, and may assess
an administrative penalty not to exceed $2,000 per
violation, payable within thirty days and deposited
in the Fund.
• A contractor or subcontractor who knowingly,
willfully, or negligently operates without a certificate
of registration, operates during suspension or
revocation, or fails to renew, may be punished by
a fine not exceeding $5,000 or imprisonment not
exceeding two years, or both.
• A contractor who knowingly and willfully violates
any provision of the HIC statute may be punished by
a fine of not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment
not exceeding one year, or both.
• When a violation of the HIC statute occurs,
resulting in damages to the homeowner, the
homeowner can recover not only damages and
costs, but attorney’s fees. Further, the Court has
discretion to double or treble any damages assessed.
It is essential that contractors be familiar with the
HIC statute. Complying with it will lessen the potential
for confusion and disagreements. Moreover, a
contractor’s failure to follow the statute can result
in substantial penalties, including revocation of
its registration, fines, and the assessment of treble
damages and attorney’s fees should the homeowner
Michael P. Sams is a founding member and shareholder
of Kenney & Sams, PC. He received an AV Rating, the
highest rating for legal ability and professional ethics,
from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. He was
rated one of the top 100 lawyers in New England
by Boston Magazine. Mr. Sams has tried numerous
cases before the Massachusetts Superior and District Courts, the U.S.
Department of Labor, the Division of Administrative Law Appeals, and the
Department of Industrial Accidents. Mr. Sams is General Counsel to the
Gould Construction Institute, Secretary of the MCLE Board of Trustees, a
member of the Construction Lawyers Society of America, Mass Building
Congress, and Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston.
Mr. Sams also is a Past President of the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers
Association, and Past Chair of the Boston Bar Association’s Construction
Law Committee, Immediate Past Chair of Defense Research Institute’s
Construction Law Committee, and Past President of Northeastern
University School of Law’s Alumni Board.
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