Victory State Bank: Make Sure Your Home-Improvement Contractor Is Licensed
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – If you are in need of a home-improvement contractor to spruce up your residence or business place, Victory State Bank recommends you follow these quick tips from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs:
- Always use a licensed home improvement contractor and/or salesperson.
Check if your home improvement contractor and/or home improvement salesperson is licensed by calling 311 or using DCA’s Instant License Check at nyc.gov/consumers. Persons soliciting or performing home improvement work in New York City costing more than $200 must be licensed by DCA.
- Get references.
Call 311 to check a contractor’s complaint history with DCA and check with at least three reputable references before hiring a contractor. Also check with surrounding areas including Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties for complaints.
- Know your contract rights.
By law, homeowners have the right to cancel any contract within three days, including contracts for home repair and/or improvements. Always check the contract, especially for a cancellation notice.
- Get a written estimate.
One of the best ways to calculate the cost of your home improvement work is to get estimates from a minimum of three contractors. Under the Home-Improvement Business Law, a home improvement contractor must provide a written estimate upon request. If a contractor charges for supplying a written estimate, you must be told the fee before an estimate is prepared.
- Use DCA’s home improvement model contract.
Don’t start work or make payments without a written contract that clearly indicates all of the specifics of the project. DCA’s model contract is an easy-to-use template that covers the breadth of a home improvement project, from materials and equipment to prices, payments and work schedules. DCA’s model contract is free and available online at nyc.gov/consumers or by calling 311. Ask for the Home Improvement Contractor license application packet.
- Never pay cash.
Never pay for repairs or improvements without a contract and never pay in cash. Pay no more than a quarter of the total amount upfront, up to a maximum $15,000, to get the work started. Then continue with ‘progress’ payments as work continues so payments are tied to specific work progress, with final payment due when all the work is completed to your satisfaction. Be sure to keep track of all paperwork and payments.
- Don’t finance improvements or repairs through your contractor.
It is illegal for contractors or salespeople to arrange or offer to arrange home improvement loans for you. If they attempt to do this, file a complaint immediately with DCA through 311 or online at nyc.gov/consumers. If financing is needed for repairs or improvements, investigate reliable and legitimate options on your own at your bank or credit union of choice.
About Victory State Bank:
VSB Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online http://www.victorystatebank.com .