City of Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lancaster as Article 329 of the Codified Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 109.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 142.
The Council finds it to be in the best interest of the residents of the city that contractors who engage in home improvements, as herein defined, be required to obtain a license from the city for such purpose, to the end that only responsible and qualified persons shall be permitted to engage in such business in the city.
No person may engage in or transact any home improvement business or hold himself out to the public as doing home improvement business or solicit any home improvement business in the city except in compliance with the applicable provisions of this chapter. No person may engage in this city in any trade or practice or other act prohibited by any provision of this chapter; and any person who willfully participates in a prohibited act or violation is subject to the criminal penalty therefor. The provisions of this chapter may not be waived by agreement.
A. 
A license issued pursuant to this chapter may not be construed to authorize the licensee to perform any particular type of work or kind of business which is reserved to qualified licensees under other provisions of state or local law; nor shall any license or authority other than as is issued or permitted pursuant to this chapter authorize engaging in the home improvement business in this city.
B. 
This chapter shall not apply to the official transactions of an authorized representative of the United States or an instrumentality thereof or any state, District of Columbia or territory of the United States, any city or county thereof or any instrumentality of a state or political subdivision thereof.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CONTRACTOR
Any person, other than a bona fide employee of the owner, who undertakes or offers to undertake or agrees to perform any home improvement, whether or not such person is licensed or subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter and whether or not such person is a prime contractor or subcontractor with respect to the owner.
HOME IMPROVEMENT
The repair, replacement, remodeling, alteration, conversion, modernization, improvement or addition to any land or building, or that portion thereof which is used or designed to be used as a residence or dwelling place; and shall include the construction, replacement or improvement of driveways, swimming pools, porches, garages, landscaping, fences, fallout shelters and other improvements to structures or upon land which is adjacent to a dwelling house.
A. 
"Home improvement" shall not include:
B. 
The construction of a new home building or work done by a contractor in compliance with a guarantee of completion of a new building project; or
C. 
The sale of goods or materials by a seller who neither arranges to perform nor performs directly or indirectly any work or labor in connection with the installation of or application of the goods or materials.
D. 
Without regard to the extent of affixation, "home improvement" includes the installation of central heating or air-conditioning systems, storm windows, awnings or fire alarms.
HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACT
An agreement, whether oral or written or contained in one or more documents, between a contractor and an owner for the performance of a home improvement, and includes all labor, services and materials to be furnished and performed thereunder.
OWNER
Any home owner, tenant or any other person who orders, contracts for or purchases the home improvement services of a contractor, or the person entitled to the performance of the work of a contractor pursuant to a home improvement contract.
PERSON
An individual, partnership, corporation, trust, association, owner, contractor, salesman or any other legal entity.
A. 
There is hereby created the Home Improvement Licensing Board, hereafter also referred to as the "Board," which consists of three members appointed by the Mayor for terms concurrent with that of the Mayor.
B. 
It is the duty of the Board to administer and provide for the enforcement of all the provisions of this chapter and specifically to issue licenses to all applicants who shall be duly qualified under and who comply with the provisions of this chapter and to refuse licenses to or suspend or revoke licenses issued to persons who do not so qualify or so comply. The Building Inspector is authorized to issue licenses upon the proper application and license fee having been paid.
No license shall be issued or become effective until the applicant pays to the City Treasurer the sum of $80.
Except as otherwise specifically exempted by the provisions of this chapter, no person shall act in the capacity of a contractor unless authorized to do so by a subsisting license issued in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
No contractor's license shall be required of any person when acting in the particular capacity or particular type of transaction set forth in this section:
A. 
An individual who performs labor or services for a contractor for wages or salary.
B. 
A plumber, architect or any other such person who is required by state or local law to attain standards of competency or experience as a prerequisite to engaging in such craft or profession, and who is acting exclusively within the scope of the craft or profession for which he is currently licensed pursuant to such other law.
C. 
Any home improvement, where the aggregate contract price for all labor, materials and other items is less than $200. This exemption does not apply where the work is only part of a larger or major operation, whether undertaken by the same or a different contractor, or in which a division of the operation is made in contracts of amounts less than $200 for the purpose of evasion of this provision or otherwise.
A. 
When an application has been filed with the Home Improvement Licensing Board in proper form, the Board must, within a period of 30 days from the date following the date the application is received, issue or refuse the appropriate contractor's licenses to the applicant. If an application for a license is refused, the applicant shall be sent a written statement setting forth the reason for the refusal to grant the license.
B. 
An applicant for any license required by the provisions of this chapter shall file a written application which shall be signed and under oath. As a part of or in connection with such application, the applicant shall furnish information concerning his true identity, personal history, home improvement business and any other pertinent facts which may by regulation be required. The application shall require the names of owners, stockholders, partners, directors and officers of any applicant, and the business addresses and trade names of the applicant.
C. 
Every contractor licensee shall, within 10 days after a change of control in ownership or of management or change of address or trade name, notify the Board of such changes.
D. 
Licenses of all contractors shall expire on June 30 following the date of issue unless prior thereto the license is revoked or suspended. Upon payment of the annual license fee, as prescribed by § 117-6, prior to the expiration date, a license shall be renewed for another year, and the authority to do business shall continue in effect until such time within the year as the Board revoked or suspended the license.
E. 
The Board may, at any time, require reasonable information of an applicant or licensee, may require the production of books of accounts, financial statements or other records which relate to the home improvement activity, qualification or compliance with this article, whether such information or records are supplementary or additional to the contracts of license applications or otherwise.
For the protection of the people of this city, no license shall be issued or continued if already issued, where:
A. 
The person or the management personnel of the person are untrustworthy or not of good character; or
B. 
The home improvement transactions of the person have been marked by a practice of failure to perform contracts or the manipulation of assets or accounts or by fraud or bad faith.
A. 
The Home Improvement Licensing Board shall have the power to refuse, suspend or revoke any licenses issued under the provisions of this article where the Board finds that the licensee has violated any provision of this article or is performing or attempting to perform any act not prohibited by this article.
B. 
Any violation of any of the provisions of this article upon the part of director, manager, partner, officer, salesman, agent or employee of a contractor shall be cause for suspension or revocation of the license of the contractor, unless it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Board that the individuals engaged in the management of the contractor had no knowledge of the wrongful conduct or were unable to prevent the violation.
A. 
The Home Improvement Licensing Board shall suspend or revoke any license or authority to do business only after hearing. At least 10 days prior to the date set for the hearing, the Board shall notify the licensee, in writing, of any charge made and afford such licensee an opportunity to be heard in person and by counsel in reference thereto. Such written notice shall be served by delivery of the same to the licensee by registered mail to the business address of such licensee on record with the Board. The hearing on such charges shall be at such time and place as the Board shall prescribe.
B. 
If the Board shall determine that any licensee is guilty of any violation of any of the provisions of this article, the authority of the licensee to do business may be revoked or suspended for such period of time as shall be determined by the Board.
C. 
If a license is refused, the applicant may, within 10 days from the date a notice of refusal is mailed, request a hearing. Such hearing must be held within 30 days from the date of the request, and the Board must render its decision within 20 days following the hearing.
A. 
The following acts are prohibited:
(1) 
Abandonment or willful failure to perform, without justification, any home improvement contract or project engaged in or undertaken by a contractor or willful deviation from or disregard of plans or specifications in any material respect without the consent of the owner.
(2) 
Making any substantial misrepresentation in the procurement of a home improvement contract or making any false promise of character likely to influence, persuade or induce.
(3) 
Any fraud in the execution of or in the material alteration of any contract, mortgage, promissory note or other document incident to a home improvement transaction.
(4) 
Preparing or accepting any mortgage, promissory note or other evidence of indebtedness upon the obligation of a home improvement transaction with knowledge that it recites a greater monetary obligation than the consideration for the home improvement work, which consideration may be a time sale price.
(5) 
Directly or indirectly publishing any advertisement relating to home improvements which contains an assertion, representation or statement of fact which is false, deceptive or misleading, provided that any advertisement which is subject to and complies with the then-existing rules, regulations or guides of the Federal Trade Commission shall not be deemed false, deceptive or misleading; or by any means advertising or purporting to offer the general public any home improvement work with the intent not to accept contracts for the particular work or at the price which is advertised or offered to the public.
(6) 
Willful or deliberate disregard and violation of the building laws of this state or of this city or of the safety, labor or workmen's compensation insurance laws of this state.
(7) 
Doing any home improvement business with or through any person who is subject to the licensing requirements of this article with the knowledge that such person is not licensed as required.
(8) 
Misrepresentation of a material fact by an applicant in obtaining a license.
(9) 
Willful failure to notify the Board of any change of control in ownership, management or business name or location.
(10) 
Conducting a home improvement business in any name other than the one in which the contractor or salesman is licensed.
(11) 
Willful failure to comply with any order, demand or requirement lawfully made by the Board under and within the authority of this article.
B. 
Violation of any of the prohibitions of this section shall:
(1) 
Subject any violator to whom the licensing provisions of this chapter apply to the administrative sanctions of this chapter; and
(2) 
Subject any violator, whether or not required to be licensed by this chapter, to criminal prosecution.
A. 
Whoever knowingly and willfully engages in the home improvement business without obtaining a license as required by this chapter and who is not otherwise exempted from such licensing requirement and whoever continues in business as a contractor after revocation or during suspension shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $600 for each separate violation and, in default of payment thereof, be imprisoned for not more than 30 days.
B. 
Whoever violates any provision of this chapter in addition to any administrative penalty otherwise applicable thereto, upon conviction thereof by a court of competent jurisdiction of this state, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $600 for each separate violation and, in default of payment thereof, be imprisoned for not more than 30 days.