A complaint may be filed against a contractor,
subcontractor or a salesperson. If violations of the home
improvement law are found after investigation, regulatory or
criminal charges may be filed against the guilty individual. There
is no monetary award for homeowners in the complaint process. If a
licensed contractor was used, the homeowner may be compensated for
actual losses through the Guaranty Fund claim process.
TO FILE A GUARANTY FUND CLAIM
There is a form, separate from the complaint form, which must
be filed with the Commission for compensation from the Guaranty
Fund. The Fund does not apply to subcontractors, salespersons, or
unlicensed contractors. A claim must be filed within three years
of the date of discovery of loss or damage caused by a licensed contractor.
Contact the investigator who is assigned to your complaint.
NOTICE TO GUARANTY FUND CLAIMANTS
- Under the Home Improvement Law, the Claimant has the burden of proof at the hearing
before the Administrative Law Judge. This means that it is the
responsibility of the Claimant to present the evidence to
prove that he/she is entitled to a monetary recovery from the Guaranty Fund.
- The Administrative Law Judge will consider only evidence which is presented at the hearing.
The Administrative Law Judge does not have letters photos,
bills etc…which the Claimant may have provided to the
Commission staff during the investigation of the complaint. If
the Claimant whishes the Administrative Law Judge to consider
such items, it is the responsibility of the Claimant to
introduce them into evidence at the hearing.
- In some cases, as part of its investigation of the complaint, the Commission may have hired an
independent expert to inspect the Claimant’s property and prepare a
written report. The Claimant should be aware that the
Commission’s expert inspector does not appear at the hearing
to testify, unless called as a witness by one of the parties
to the case. The Claimant should also be aware that
"expert" witnesses, such as a professional home
inspector, who are called to testify about their professional
opinions, are entitled to be compensated for their time. If
the Claimant wishes to have the Commission’s expert testify
at the hearing, it is the responsibility of the Claimant to
contact the expert in advance of the hearing, and make all
necessary arrangements with the expert, including arrangements for payment of any fee.
- The Claimant should be aware that, if he/she attempts to introduce a written inspection report into
evidence at the hearing, without the expert present to
testify, it will be up to the discretion of the Administrative
Law Judge whether to admit the report into evidence, if the
expert is not present to testify and not subject to cross-examinations, the Administrative Law
Judge may give the report less weight than if the expert is present.
- Even if the Commission has hired an expert inspector to inspect the Claimant’s property, the
Claimant has the right to hire his/her own expert to
inspect the property and to testify on the Claimant’s behalf at the hearing.
Download the Maryland
Home Improvement Commission Complaint Form (Word document,
87KB, download Word viewer for free)
Frequently Asked Questions about the General Fund and
filing a complaint
Guaranty Fund Workshop