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General Laws

Section 2. (a) Every agreement to perform residential contracting services in an amount in excess of one thousand dollars shall be in writing and shall include the following documents and information:

(1) the complete agreement between the owner and the contractor and a clear description of any other documents which are or shall be incorporated into said agreement;

(2) the full names, social security numbers, addresses, exclusive of post office box addresses, registration number of the contractor, the names of the salesperson, if any, who solicited or negotiated the contract and the date when said contract was executed by the parties;

(3) the date on which the work under the contract is scheduled to begin and the date on which said work is scheduled to be substantially completed;

(4) a detailed description of the work to be done and the materials to be used in the performance of said contract;

(5) the total amount agreed to be paid for the work to be performed under said contract;

(6) a time schedule of payments to be made under said contract and the amount of each payment stated in dollars, including all finance charges. Any deposit required under the contract to be paid in advance of the commencement of work under said contract shall not exceed the greater of one-third of the total contract price or the actual cost of any materials or equipment of a special order or custom made nature, which must be ordered in advance of the commencement of work, in order to assure that the project will proceed on schedule. No final payment shall be demanded until the contract is completed to the satisfaction of the parties thereto;

(7) the signatures of all parties shall be affixed to the contract;

(8) there shall be a clear and conspicuous notice appearing in the contract:

that all contractors and subcontractors must be registered by the director and that any inquiries about a contractor or subcontractor relating to a registration should be directed to the director;

of the registration number of the contractor or subcontractor;

of an owner’s three-day cancellation rights under section forty-eight of chapter ninety-three, section fourteen of chapter two hundred and fifty-five D, or section ten of chapter one hundred and forty D as may be applicable;

of all warranties and the owner’s rights under the provisions of this act;

in ten point bold type or larger, directly above the space provided for the signature, “Do not sign this contract if there are any blank spaces”;

of any lien on or security interest on the residence as a consequence of the contract.

(9) an enumeration of such other matters upon which the owner and the contractor may lawfully agree; provided, however, that no such agreement may waive any rights conveyed to the owner under the provisions of this chapter; and

(10) any other provision otherwise required by the applicable laws of the commonwealth.

No contract shall contain an acceleration clause under which any part or all of the balance not yet due may be declared due and payable because the holder deems himself to be insecure. However, where the contractor deems himself to be insecure he may require as a prerequisite to continuing said work that the balance of funds due under the contract, which are in the possession of the owner, shall be placed in a joint escrow account requiring the signature of the contractor and owner for withdrawal.

At the time of signing, the owner shall be furnished with a copy of the contract signed by both the contractor and the owner. No work shall begin prior to the signing of the contract and transmittal to the owner of a copy of such contract.

Any contract entered into between a contractor and homeowner shall require the contractor to inform the homeowner of the following: (i) any and all necessary permits, (ii) that it shall be the obligation of the contractor to obtain said permits, and (iii) that homeowners who secure their own permits will be excluded from the guaranty fund provisions of this chapter.

Any contract entered into between a contractor and homeowner may provide that the contractor may initiate alternative dispute resolution through any private arbitration services approved by the director, under paragraphs (a) to (e), inclusive, of section four; provided, that said alternative dispute resolution provision is clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the contract, in language designated by the director, and that each party separately signs and dates the provision, thereby assenting to the procedure.

Contracts which fail to comply with the requirements of this section shall not be invalid solely because of noncompliance.

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