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Maryland Construction Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: I inadvertently hired an unlicensed contractor. I'm unhappy with the work, but I haven't paid yet. What happens now?

I hired a Virginia-based company to repair a leak in my home. I asked if they were licensed to work in Maryland, and they said they were, but the document they provided me says "Out-of-state contractor (not for home improvement)," and neither the business trade name nor any of the... View More

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Feb 17, 2024

Performing a home improvement without a license is a criminal offense in Maryland, and the civil courts will not enforce the contract for the contractor. In other words, the contractor cannot legally accept payment, or sue you if you don’t pay, so no, you do not have to pay. I would immediately... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Environmental for Maryland on
Q: In the state of Maryland, Can you purchase a home and occupy that home knowing there is a failed septic?

Wicomico County,Md/ Also we will have a portta potty/ as well as trying to get a water reuse permit. We also will be using owner finance.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
answered on Dec 8, 2023

You are confusing two concepts. You might be physically able to occupy the premises, but perhaps not without governmental response. Without septic the property will not have a Use & Occupancy Certificate. The property will not pass any septic inspection called for in the real estate contract,... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Environmental for Maryland on
Q: In the state of Maryland, Can you purchase a home and occupy that home knowing there is a failed septic?

Wicomico County,Md/ Also we will have a portta potty/ as well as trying to get a water reuse permit. We also will be using owner finance.

Cedulie Renee Laumann
Cedulie Renee Laumann
answered on Dec 15, 2023

Yes, a buyer can legally purchase a home in great condition, terrible condition or anything in between. People can purchase property without a home on it at all, or with a home they intend to bulldoze.

Now most of the time a bank will not lend money to a borrower to buy a home if it is...
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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law, Consumer Law and Contracts for Maryland on
Q: where do I find the Maryland law for residential time and material contract
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Jun 23, 2023

That's like asking where do you find the law on crimes, or contracts, or divorce. Far too broad of a subject. There are so many sources of laws that apply to residential contruction contracts, including statutory, regulatory, common law, zoning and consumer aspects. If you have a specific... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: Who fixes dryer vent? Can HOA bill for uncompleted work? Is HOA responsible for damages caused by delay & violation?

Mold/mildew caused by dryer vented to inside. I was not informed of it at purchase and I found out its against building code while researching this. Contractor came 4 times in 2 year period. I had to keep asking. Holes cut in wall for inspection by their contractor have not been repaired. I'm... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 12, 2023

The answer will depend on who owns what in your condo or HOA, who was responsible for the construction flaw, and who knew of the defect and concealed it. Unless the repair is worth less than the cost of the legal involvement, you may want to have the HOA docs, the advertising and closing docs, and... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: how much should a contractor ask for a down payment on a roof replacement

This is only a small roof

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Apr 25, 2023

Assuming this is for a residence, this is a home improvement project. By Maryland law, a contractor on a home improvement contract must hold a license from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). The contract must comply with multiple legal requirements, among which is that a down... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: I am an unlicensed contractor, my client new this and that is why she asked me to do this project on her home. She kept

Changing orders and now is refusing my pay the change orders and will not let me proceed. She wants to file through the courts because she does not want to pay for the changes. Can I be liable because she knew I was not licensed?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Apr 20, 2023

She can file a complaint with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission, which may take the case to the local prosecutor's office (in the county where the work was performed) and have charges filed against you for performing a home improvement without a license, a crime that carries possible... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: Contractor got money but never completed restaurant buildout

I paid a person having Construction Firm license to build a restaurant but he escaped with money & never delivered. I paid him a lot of money already, but he delivered minimal work and all went wrong. I live in Maryland, so does he. Kindly please advice what I can do. Thank you.

Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
answered on Apr 4, 2023

If you think he has assets sufficient to satisfy your debt, consider a lawsuit in the courts. Depending on the amount to be claimed, you can sue in either the district or circuit courts. There are many causes of action for breach of a contract to provide construction services. You can also... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: What does MHIC guaranty fund pay for?

Concrete sidewalk/steps/handrails installed - paid in full $3900. MAJOR issues with the work and home inspection deemed all of work unsafe. Every other contractor said all concrete had to be removed and redone - basically start from scratch. Total paid to redo - $7100. Filed claim and have... View More

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Mar 2, 2024

The regulations governing the adjudication of claims against the Guaranty Fund specify the formulas to be used by the Commission when calculating an award for actual loss from the Guaranty Fund:

Unless it determines that a particular claim requires a unique measurement, the Commission shall...
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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: From what date does stat/lims run on final bill on home construction issued 2+ yrs after Subst’l Completion or any work

It is a MD project using AIA Document A105. Would the SOL apply to bar collection if a final invoice is not issued until 3+ yrs after CO issued and last work on the project?

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Jun 17, 2022

Typically, the SOL will run from the date of last performance of work or delivery of materials to the project, but contractual language may vary the due date of payment (like language that states payment is due 30 days after invoice, so the SOL starts there upon breach of the obligation to pay 30... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: Maryland subcontractor claims contractor didn't pay what is the statute of limitations for him to file a lawsuit?

I am a contractor in Maryland and a subcontractor says that I owe him for work performed. His invoices date from April 2019 to December 2019. What is the statute of limitations and does it apply to each invoice or does it apply to the last invoice which would include all of them? Thank you

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on May 1, 2022

Generally, the SOL runs from the date of breach of a contract, or from the last date the money became due and remained unpaid. Sometimes, that is harder to nail down in some cases, and may depend on whether the subcontractor's claim is based upon a single contract to provide labor and... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: Does a prior burglary 2nd degree not of homes disqualify you from getting home improvement license cases are 17 years ag

A maryland home improvment license

Scott Scherr
Scott Scherr
answered on Mar 23, 2022

I do not know whether it will prevent you from getting your improvement license. However, you may be eligible to get your record expunged. A probation before judgment can be expunged after three years. A conviction can be expunged 15 years after your conviction or the end of probation whichever is... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: I own over 3 properties and I'm not able to file my claim against the guaranty fund for a bad contractor. Any advice?

I was working with the Maryland investigator regarding a contractor using someone else's license. He was paid by me. In September 2020 the case was concluded in the District Court of MD and I was giving the approval to file against the guaranty fund. The MD investigator told me she would help... View More

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Dec 14, 2021

The Home Improvement Act is a regulatory statutory scheme for the benefit of protecting consumers, and the Guaranty Fund is established to provide a certain amount (up to $20,000) is available to reimburse a homeoewner for losses sustained at the hands of an unlicensed contractor or unworkmanlike... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Civil Litigation and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: I hired a window installation company to replace windows. Unbeknownst to me, they used subcontractors.

1. I would have never hired a company to subcontract. Can they do this if it wasn't in the contract?

2. The original window installation company continues to refuse to provide a lien release from the subcontractors. Again, and again.

Is there any way to force them to... View More

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Aug 11, 2021

If the contract does not prohibit it, they can use subcontractors. Why do you need a lien release? Have they filed a lien? It is unlikely that a window replacement contract would be a large enough percentage of your property value to qualify for a mechanics lien. Why have they sued you? Not enough... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: What does this code mean TA-21-103a in (Maryland) mean. Was pulled over due to confusion of construction cones
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Jul 16, 2021

The code section you site does not specifically refer to a construction zone violation, but is as follows: “A person may not willfully disobey any lawful order or direction of any police officer.” So the assumption is, a police officer was directing you to do something and you didn’t do it,... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation, Construction Law and Insurance Bad Faith for Maryland on
Q: Insurance breached settlement agreement. WHY?

Why would a insurance company breach a settlement agreement?? I settled a property damage claim with an insurance company. Property damage 60k Personal property also 60k. Under the settlement agreement they had to do work on my condo to make the condo watertight, hiring an engineer for... View More

Randy Bryan Ligh
Randy Bryan Ligh
answered on Apr 14, 2021

If you do not have an attorney, then I certainly recommend that you hire one at this time to assist your in either enforcing the settlement agreement and/or reaching an alternate resolution-----a lot of times the insurance company will not proceed accordingly without an attorney on the other side.

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: If I dig an pour the footers an lay the block foundation for a detached garage in md. On a lot with a existing older

Home do I need a mhic license ? I already have a md construction license. Thanks

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Mar 1, 2021

Unless this is your own house, YES, you need a license. All improvements to a residence that you perform for a homeowner for money requires an MHIC license, and you are also solely responsible for obtaining all building permits for the job. A general construction license is not sufficient, and... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Land Use & Zoning for Maryland on
Q: do I HAVE to agree to a free, new well drilled for me (as required by co) so a company can build next door?

I like things the way they are, and can afford to pay for a new well myself should I ever need it.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 6, 2021

I know of no way to generalize to give you decent advice without reviewing the survey, running a title search for easements, and understanding exactly what the developer wants and needs. Generally, however, you do not need to agree with anything on your land unless your neighbor has an easement to... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: Is homeowner responsible for construction cost exceeding the quote from the general contractor.

Detailed plans, and quote. No unexpected problems with construction. On time, quality work, etc. Contractor admitted underestimated. He offered to discount bill, but still >

150k over quote.

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on May 2, 2020

Over the quote, or over the contract you and he signed? There's a vacuum of information here that needs to be filled in. You say no unexpected problems, but were all fixtures and materials specified, or did you constantly pick out expensive high-end products and materials after the quote... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law and Contracts for Maryland on
Q: Is it legal for a licensed contractor to work without obtaining permit where required by law in Maryland?

I signed a contract to install a concrete slab with flagstone. Also stairs that go up to the second floor of my house. It's come to my attention that this work requires a permit. Is the contractor responsible for pulling those permits? I was never informed it is required by law.

I am... View More

Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
answered on Mar 4, 2020

NO. It is the non-delegable obligation of the contractor to apply for and obtain all necessary permits required by law, per C.O.M.A.R. 09.08.01.08. ("Code of Maryland Regulations"--the MHIC promulgates regulations under the Home Improvement Law, and COMAR is where all such regulations... View More

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