Effective July 1, 2009, the state of Pennsylvania will require a written contract for nearly every construction task in or around a residence — even minor repair work like repainting or reroofing. If the value of work exceeds $500 and the contractor expects to get paid, he or she will need a written contract.

Under Pennsylvania’s Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA), the written agreement has to include all the usual facts, plus a few you might not expect to see in a small job contract: the attorney general’s phone number, the contractor’s street address (a P.O. box won’t do), specific start and completion dates, a description of the...

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