NJ Office of the Attorney General Division of Consumer Affairs
The New Jersey “Contractors’ Registration Act” Frequently Asked Questions
Notice: The following questions and answers are intended for the convenience of contractors who may be required to register under this Act. This should not be considered a legal document nor a complete explanation of the law and should not be relied upon as such. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) recommends that you consult an attorney if you need legal advice.
1. What is the Contractors’ Registration Act?
The “Contractors’ Registration Act” (the “Act”), which becomes effective November 9, 2004, establishes a mandatory registration program for contractors who are in the business of selling or making home improvements in New Jersey.
2. What is a home improvement?
Any remodeling, altering, painting, repairing, renovating, restoring, moving, demolishing, or modernizing of a structure used as a place of residence, or of any portion of the property on which the structure is located, is considered a home improvement for the purposes of the Act.
Home improvement includes the construction, installation, replacement, improvement, or repair of driveways, sidewalks, swimming pools, terraces, patios, landscaping, fences, porches, windows, doors, cabinets, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, basements and basement waterproofing, fire protection devices, security protection devices, central heating and air conditioning equipment, water softeners, heaters, and purifiers, solar heating or water systems, insulation installation, aluminum siding, wall-to-wall carpeting or attached or inlaid floor coverings, and other changes, repairs, or improvements made to residential property. Construction of a new residence is not considered a home improvement under the Act.
3. Who is a home improvement contractor?
Any person, whether a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or any other type of business organization that is engaged in the business of selling or making home improvements is considered a home improvement contractor for the purposes of the Act.
4. Who must register?
The Act requires any contractor engaging in the business of making or selling home improvements, whether an individually owned business or a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or association, to register annually with the Division, unless specifically exempted from registration under the Act.
5. I am a landscaper and I only mow lawns and trim shrubs. Must I register?
No. However, you must register if you plant flowers, shrubs and trees or lay sod or establish a lawn.
6. What if I do not register?
Any home improvement contractor who is required to register but does not register is prohibited from selling or making home improvements. Unregistered contractors who continue to sell or make home improvements may be subject to civil penalties and possibly criminal penalties as well.
7. How does registration affect my ability to obtain construction permits?
Municipalities are barred from issuing construction permits to an unregistered home improvement contractor who is required to register.