Should there be more rules for Vermont contractors?

By  | 

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Have you ever had a bad contractor experience?
Vermont state workers are considering whether to add regulations to those who work in home improvement.
Imagine your home in disarray for months. That was reality for Winooski resident Joe Nusbaum earlier this year.

"Lowe's went in and they demolished the bathroom," said Nusbaum. "They demolished the kitchen and then disappeared for well over a month, and I was essentially rendered homeless because I couldn't really live in my living situation."

He's not the only one who has had a negative experience with contractors.

The Attorney General's Office says its Consumer Assistance Program received more than 200 complaints regarding home improvement matters over the last two years. Those complaints allege more than $1 million in losses. That's why the state is considering adding more rules for contractors.

Vermont’s Office of Professional Regulation got feedback from residents and workers in Montpelier Tuesday.

"Certification or education might be a place that we could consider putting more effort," said Jay Graves, who works as a contractor.

Cathleen Lamberton from the Associated General Contractors of Vermont doesn't think adding licensing requirements would make a big change.

"Whether you're licensed or not, it's really about regulation and whether there's enough funds in the state to be able to create a whole new system, for a million dollars a year? I'm not so sure that's a feasible way to go," said Lamberton.

Professional Regulation is putting together a recommendation about construction rules for legislators. Gabe Gilman works for the office and says staff still has to review more data before saying what it will include.

"I think people often hear right of licensure because it's sort of the classic form of regulating a profession but there are lighter touch ways to kind of get at some of the harms we are hearing from people," said Gilman.
"I think there needs to be a level of regulatory oversight. I think that's really something that's lacking in Vermont," said Nusbaum.
The office's advisory letter is due in January. Then it's up to legislators to decide whether and when they will act on the recommendations.