In MA, what legal penalties can occur from doing non-structural construction work without a Home Improvement License?

Additional Information:

I moved to MA from NY and was unaware that I was supposed to have a Home Improvement License to do any work in the state. I contracted into a painting job at a residence in Natick, MA not knowing this and the local building inspector was made aware that I was not properly licensed to do this work. I am obviously taking the steps to obtain this license now which is just a one hundred dollar fee but am concerned of any penalties that may be imposed, and if they would be civil or criminal for not having this license and doing this painting work. Can someone PLEASE tell me how much trouble I could possibly be looking at!?!?


You do not state in your question what type of painting that you were hired to do at the residence in Natick.  Some forms of painting are exempt from licensing under the Code of Massachusetts Regulations if you are involved exclusively in “interior painting or wall covering”. The penalties for violation of the Home Improvement License law are set forth in M.G.L. c. 142A Secs. 18 and 19. For administrative penalties under M.G.L. c. 142A Sec. 18, the statute provides that the director could assess an administrative penalty not to exceed $2,000.00 for each violation and may suspend one’s registration as a Home Improvement contractor. M.G.L.. c. 142A Sec. 19 provides that a contrator or subcontrator who shall knowingly, willfully or negiligently operate without obtaining a certificate of registration…….shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or improsinment not exceeding two years, or both.

Unfortunately, these are potentially harsh penalties for what appears to be a mistake on your part. From what you have stated in our synopsis, you do not appear to have violated the statute knowingly and/or willfully. The only issue would be if you negligently violated the statute. I wish you luck.

The Natick MA Construction Attorneys at Goldman & Pease provide legal services to individuals and businesses and serve the Greater Boston region including Alston, Arlington, Belmont, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Dedham, Dover, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norwood, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, West Roxbury, Westwood, and all of Massachusetts.

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