New Laws Shield Consumers from Home Repair Fraud
SPRINGFIELD, IL – July 13, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — July 12, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today signed two bills into law that will protect consumers from deceptive home repair and remodeling practices. Senate Bill 3645 and Senate Bill 2540 protect homeowners and individuals who have disabilities from fraudulent home repair projects.
“Homeowners trust that professionals will do the right thing when they are hired for major home repair projects,” said Governor Quinn. “We will not tolerate individuals entering homes in good faith – especially homes of our most vulnerable residents – and taking advantage of them. Anyone who does so will pay the consequences under these new laws.”
Senate Bill 3645, sponsored by Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and Rep. Sidney Mathias (R-Buffalo Grove), protects people with disabilities from falling victim to fraudulent home repair or remodeling. Under the new law, an individual can be charged with aggravated home repair fraud when the fraud is connected to a home repair project designed to assist a person with a disability.
Oftentimes people with disabilities require modifications to their homes such as wheelchair ramps and other improvements to accessibility. The law is aimed at protecting those individuals who may be particularly susceptible to fraud.
The new law increases the penalty for aggravated home repair fraud from a Class 4 to a Class 3 felony when the project is under $500. Class 3 felonies generally carry a two to five year prison sentence and a maximum fine of $25,000. The law also increases the penalty for a second or subsequent offense from a Class 3 felony to a Class 2 felony. Class 2 felonies typically carry a three to seven year prison sentence and a $25,000 maximum fine.
Governor Quinn also signed Senate Bill 2540, sponsored by Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi (D-Joliet) and Rep. André Thapedi (D-Chicago), to further protect homeowners under the Home Repair and Remodeling Act. Under the new law, any person who suffers damages resulting from a violation of the Act may take legal action.
The Home Repair and Remodeling Act applies to home repairs and remodeling projects that cost more than $1,000. Senate Bill 2540 is an initiative of the Illinois State Bar Association in response to a number of lawsuits dealing with fraudulent home repairs and remodeling. Previously, courts had difficulty interpreting the Act’s language.
Both laws passed the General Assembly unanimously and go into effect immediately.