“The Maryland Home Improvement Commission licenses and regulates home improvement contractors and salespersons. Home improvement work includes alteration, remodeling, repair or replacement of a building or part of a building used as a residence. Home improvement also includes work done on individual condominium units. Home improvement does not include work done on commonly owned areas of condominiums or buildings that contain four or more single family units. The Commission investigates complaints by homeowners, awards monetary damages against licensed contractors, and prosecutes violators of the home improvement law and regulations.

The Commission has a Guaranty Fund (The Fund) supported by licensed contractors, who pay a Guaranty Fund assessment when they obtain their Home Improvement license and each time they renew their license. This Fund compensates homeowners for actual monetary losses due to poor workmanship or failure to perform a home improvement contract. The Fund applies only to work done by licensed contractors. The maximum amount that a homeowner may recover through the Fund is the amount paid to the contractor, up to $30,000. If the total amount of all claims against a contractor equals more than $250,000, then each homeowner’s award is pro-rated based upon the total amount awarded to each claimant.”

“Doing substantial renovations on your home requires you to make a lot of choices on what you want to change, how you want your home to look, and who you want to hire to help make it look that way. Finding the right balance of talent, reliability, and affordability in a contractor can be a challenge. You might feel tempted to hire an unlicensed contractor who comes at an excellent price. However, this decision can end up costing you more than you’d end up saving. Read on to learn about why it’s important to hire only licensed contractors to work on your home, and learn more about how to research a contractor you’re considering to do work on your home.

What’s so great about a license?

Possession of a license indicates that a contractor has passed the state’s licensing exam and paid requisite fees to register as a contractor in the state. In fact, in the state of Maryland, it is a crime to offer your services as a home improvement contractor, subcontractor, or salesperson without a license from the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). This license offers a certain level of assurance that, should the contractor do a poor job or fail to complete the work on your home, you will have a recourse and a means of recovering the lost value. In order to maintain their license, every Maryland contractor must pay into the state’s Guaranty Fund which will reimburse homeowners for the amount they paid to a contractor for shoddy or unfinished work, up to $30,000. Further, a licensed contractor should also have a general liability insurance certificate, which they can present to you prior to being hired. Being a license-holding contractor means that the individual will be easier to track down should a job go south; often, unlicensed contractors travel from state to state, making recovery for bad work a challenge.
In addition to the efforts that a contractor must make to gain a license in the first instance, the loss of a license can indicate a number of troubling qualities about that contractor. A contractor that has been the subject of numerous complaints to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) could have their license revoked. Additionally, loss of a license can indicate that a contractor has been convicted of a crime.

How do I learn more about a contractor?

Researching contractors and learning about other homeowners’ experiences using them is critical, and easily done online. The DLLR strongly encourages consumers to check on the status of a potential contractor’s license by looking them up by name, trade, location, or license number on the state’s database”

List of services where a MHIC license is required in Maryland:

Interior of Residence

  • Carpentry
  • Central vacuum systems
  • Built-in closet organizers
  • Marble
  • Home theatre construction
  • Painting
  • Plastering

Exterior of Residence

  • Awnings
  • Bricklaying
  • Driveways
  • Excavating
  • Fences
  • Flagstone
  • Grading
  • Gravel driveways
  • Gutters and downspouts
  • House structural lifting & reattachment
  • Landscaping
  • Painting
  • Patios
  • Paving
  • Masonry pointing
  • Sidewalks
  • Siding
  • Railings
  • Roofs
  • Sod (when landscaping)
  • Stairs
  • Stucco

Accessibility Features

  • Chair lifts for stairs
  • Overhead lift systems (permanently mounted)
  • Ramps

Cleaning and Treatments

  • Acid treatment
  • Acoustical treatment (permanently mounted)
  • Lead paint abatement
  • Radon gas mitigation
  • Sandblasting
  • Sealants
  • Waterproofing

Doors and Windows

  • Doors
  • Screens
  • Skylights
  • Stained glass
  • Shutters (exterior)
  • Storm doors
  • Storm windows
  • Window tinting
  • Windows

Energy Conservation

  • Insulation
  • Solar panel systems
  • Windmills


  • Chimney repairs
  • Fire alarm systems
  • Fire escapes
  • Fireplaces

Floors and Walls

  • Caulking
  • Ceilings
  • Drywall
  • Floating floors
  • Linoleum
  • Paneling
  • Terrazzo
  • Tile
  • Wallpapering
  • Wall coverings (permanent)
  • Floor coverings (carpet not included)

Metal/Stone/Marble (exposed)

  • Metal
  • Masonry
  • Ornamental railings
  • Stone/Stone-cast

Kitchen and Bath

  • Bathroom
  • Cabinets
  • Kitchen
  • Shower and bath enclosures
  • Sinks and countertops
  • Tile
  • Vanities

Pools/Hot Tubs

  • Hot tubs – permanent
  • Pools
  • Pool covers
  • Pool houses


  • Carports
  • Club rooms
  • Decks
  • Fallout shelters
  • Foundations
  • Garages
  • Piers (non-marine)
  • Pole buildings
  • Porch enclosures
  • Porches
  • Retaining walls
  • Sunrooms

MHIC #158152

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