Tupitza & Associates, P.C. obtained an $813,000 verdict for clients on June 21, 2017, against stucco remediation contractor Atlantic Remediation and Restoration Contractors, LLC. (“ARRC”) and its principal, Harry Weatherby. The verdict came in litigation brought in connection with stucco remediation of a home in Landenberg, Chester County.
The Defendants were hired to remediate defective stucco on a large residential property. Stucco was removed from the house and property damaged. The contractor then disappeared into the sunset, leaving the work incomplete, and the home exposed to the weather. The contractor had not registered under Pennsylvania’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Law (“HICPA”). This was found by the Court to be a violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (“UTPCPL”). Under the UTPCPL, the Court trebled damages and awarded attorneys’ fees.
Under HICPA, contractors who are not registered and who do not use HICPA compliant contracts are not able to bring contract based claims against property owners. ARRC was neither registered nor did it use a proper contract. In addition, the contractor took a deposit in excess of the amount permitted by HICPA. (For information on whether or not a contractor is registered see: http://hicsearch.attorneygeneral.gov/
HICPA is an important tool in the bag of homeowners when dealing with disreputable home improvement contractors. A violation of HICPA is an automatic violation of the UTPCPL, opening the door to treble damages and attorneys’ fees, subject to proof in exceptional cases.