Does the Home Repair Act Require a Written Agreement for Any Home Repair and Remodelling Exccding $ 1000 ?
In Central Illinois Electrical Services, L.L.C. v. Slepian, 358 Ill. App. 3d 545, 831 N.E.2d 1169, 294 Ill. Dec. 844 (2005), the plaintiff, Central Illinois Electrical Services (CIES), entered into an oral contract with the homeowners to provide electrical work as part of a remodeling project.
Upon completion of the project, the Slepians failed to pay CIES.
CIES subsequently sued to foreclose a mechanics' lien on the Slepians' property and, in addition, alleged claims for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit.
In response, the Slepians alleged that CIES had violated the HRRA by failing to provide a written contract. Thus, the Slepians argued that the oral contract was void and therefore could not be the basis of recovery under a mechanic's lien.
After a bench trial, the trial court found in CIES's favor with respect to the mechanic's lien, dismissed CIES's additional counts as moot, and denied, on the merits, all of the Slepians' claims pursuant to the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (Consumer Fraud Act) (815 ILCS 505/10(a) (West 2006)).
On appeal, the Court discussed CIES's claim that the Home Repair Act did not apply to it because it was a successor contractor without a clearly defined project against which to itemize expenses and reversed that portion of the trial court's order that relied upon the finding that the Home Repair Act was not applicable. Slepian, 358 Ill. App. 3d at 550, 831 N.E.2d at 1173.
Specifically, the Court stated:
"The language of the Act clearly and unambiguously requires anyone engaged in the business of home repair and remodeling to obtain a signed contract before initiating work that will exceed $ 1,000 in cost.
The trial court erred in concluding the Act did not apply in the instant case, and the court should now hear any claims that were dismissed on that basis.
Thus, to the extent that the trial court's rulings relied upon a finding that the Act was not applicable, this cause is reversed and remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion." Slepian, 358 Ill. App. 3d at 550, 831 N.E.2d at 1173.