Home Improvement Business Trust Fund
Rule status: Adopted
Effective date: April 2, 2023
Proposed Rule Full Text
Adopted Rule Full Text
Adopted rule summary:
Notice of Adoption to amend rules applicable to the Home Improvement Business Trust Fund to provide for the payment of outstanding awards owed to consumers by licensed home improvement businesses.
Comments are now closed.
Online comments: 1
Susan M Kassapian
I commend DCWP for trying to add to their ability to invade the HIC TF for consumers. However, until DCWP resumes bringing hearings on behalf of consumers to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), there will be few additional settlements that will be capable of a TF invasion. DCWP and OATH are aware of my strenuous entreaties to make this happen as outlined in my letter to Mayor Adams and Comptroller Lander, dated June 9, 2022. See attached. I hope the two agencies can expedite the resumption of these HIC consumer hearings, as well as consumer hearings in all DCWP license categories, as soon as possible. If the suggestions in my letter are accepted, this proposed rule will certainly bear fruit.Comment attachment
I do have some wording concerns regarding the proposed rule:
• Use of the word “award” and all references to the “Department” conducting hearings, issuing decisions or imposing amounts to consumers or fines should be changed.
In 6 RCNY 2-224(b)(5) the rule maintains language about paying “awards” and refers to such awards as “being imposed by the Department.” Since it is OATH, not DCWP, that conducts the administrative hearings and imposes restitution amounts and fines, any reference to the word “award,” either alone or in conjunction with the word “Department” and all references to the Department conducting hearings and issuing decisions or imposing awards, amounts to consumers, or fines should be removed throughout the proposed rule changes and in the Statement of Basis and Purpose. I would note that the proposed changes to 6 RCNY 2-224(c)(1) already deletes the word “awards” and substitutes “amounts to consumers.” Perhaps it would be better to describe these amounts throughout as “restitution amounts.”
• “Decisions” (meaning OATH decisions) and “Departmental suspensions for failure to pay” should be added to 6 RCNY 2-224(c)(1)(i)(d). As proposed, the only written notices listed are judgments, arbitration awards or settlement agreements.
• 6 RCNY 2-224(c)(1)(iv) should be changed but not eliminated. The proposed changes eliminate the requirement about invading the TF only after an HIC’s license has been revoked, surrendered, or the HIC has failed to renew the license. I think this is inconsistent with 6 RCNY 2-224(5) which retains references to license revocation, license surrender and failure to renew the license, while also adding license suspension. I also think that an HIC’s license should, at the very least, be suspended (either by an OATH decision or a suspension notice by the Department for failure to pay) before the TF is invaded.
Thank you for considering my comments.
Susan Kassapian, former Deputy Commissioner at OATH and former General Counsel at DCA