September 19, 2014
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Penalties for using an illegal construction contract in Pennsylvania:
  • Pennsylvania's Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act requires that a long list of disclosures appear in the contract such as start and finish dates, names and addresses of subs, insurance coverage and a phone number for the Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection. Any contract which omits these disclosures is void and unenforceable. The Act also makes unenforceable any contract that includes one of eleven clauses commonly found in some home improvement contracts. Failure to comply with the Act is an unfair trade practice and gives an owner the right to recover three times actual damages plus attorney fees. Failure to comply is also a misdemeanor if the contract is for $2,000 or less. If for more than $2,000, violation is a third degree felony. Penalties are higher for repeat violations and if the owner is 60 years old or more. Failure to get a change order in writing carries the same civil and criminal penalties.
  • An arbitration clause in a contract is not enforceable if it omits certain issues or is in text face (rather than bold type).
  • The Home Improvement Finance Act requires several disclosures, including disclosure of the right of rescission and a statement in 10-point bold type directly above the signature of the owner. A fine of up to $500 can be imposed for a first violation. Second and later violations earn the same fine plus a year in jail. In addition, the district attorney is authorized to seek an injunction against the contractor. Any violation of that injunction carries a penalty of up to $1,000.
  • Failure to make federal truth in lending disclosures requires restitution of the overcharge.
  • Failure to include the disclosures required by 12 Code of Federal Regulations 226.15 extends the right of rescission to three years (rather than three days).
  • Omitting insulation disclosures required by 16 Code of Federal Regulation 460 can result in an $11,000 fine.
The contracts linked below will help Pennsylvania contractors avoid these penalties by complying with state and federal law.
The contracts linked below also comply with current Pennsylvania and federal court decisions.

Pennsylvania Construction Contracts Available Now
Title Bias Contract Type Page Length
PA Commercial Construction I Light bias in favor of the contractor. Prime 31
PA Commercial Construction II Light bias in favor of the owner. Prime 13
PA Commercial Repair Neutral. Prime 17
PA Commercial Subcontract I Light bias in favor of the subcontractor. Subcontract 28
PA Commercial Subcontract II Light bias in favor of the contractor. Subcontract 13
PA Custom Home I Light bias in favor of the contractor. Prime 17
PA Custom Home II Light bias in favor of the owner. Prime 22
PA Home Improvement I Moderate bias in favor of the contractor. Prime 23
PA Home Improvement II Moderately favors the owner. Prime 25
PA Home Repair I Heavy bias in favor of the contractor. Prime 12
PA Home Repair II Heavy bias in favor of the owner. Prime 15
PA Pool Neutral. Prime 17
PA Public Works Subcontract Moderate bias in favor of the contractor. Subcontract 31
PA Residential Subcontract I Light bias in favor of the subcontractor. Subcontract 12
PA Residential Subcontract II Light bias in favor of the contractor. Subcontract 17
PA Tenant Improvement Neutral. Prime 13