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Just as every Cape restaurant claims some form of best chowder award, terms such as “licensed & insured, fully insured and bonded…” are so prevalent that often time’s people take them at perceived value and rarely confirm or review the actual substance. Be it a home watch company or hiring a particular trade for your property, ask questions. The following consists of brief descriptions in regards to various forms of license, insurance and bonds which are illustrated in order to enlighten both full and part-time homeowners alike.

MA State Police Watch Guard License – This is a little known requirement in that it is rarely enforced due to the overworked and understaffed members of the certification group comprised of both State Police Troopers and civilians that attend to duties beyond watch, guard and patrol licensing. To obtain this license, the applicant must submit proof of a surety bond and a certificate of organization along with the application package. In turn, the applicant is then subject to a thorough background check and live interview prior to being issued a license. Going forward, the annual renewal includes completion of a renewal application, the hard copy license of the preceding year, a refreshed background check and of course a renewal fee. By extension, any applicable employees are to be recorded and available for review by the employer. The lesser known letter of the law states that without this license, companies or individuals simply using the phrase home watch in their literature, on a webpage, truck or business card are actually in violation of the law.

No person shall engage in, advertise or hold himself out as being engaged in, nor solicit private detective business or the business of watch, guard or patrol agency, notwithstanding the name or title used in describing such business, unless licensed for such purpose as provided in section twenty-five.

That said, it is equally important to note that this license in no way implies that the licensee has received any specialized training or maintains any affiliation with the MA State Police or any particular enforcement agency. Conversely, by obtaining the required license, home owners are at least assured that the company to which the license was granted has satisfied a background check if not confirmed awareness of his or her own industry. To confirm an active watch license, contact the MA State Police Certification Unit at 978-538-6128.

MA Real Estate License – As a licensed Massachusetts real estate brokerage, Nauset Management customers enjoy a seamless experience from buyer and seller representation in addition to a myriad of management services for the life of ownership.

MA State CSL – This is the Construction Supervisor’s License. This license is required, primarily, when a scope of work entails the alteration or fabrication of structural elements and/or bonafide work over $1,000.00. This could range from new construction to a simple deck.

MA State Home Improvement Contractor [HIC] – Designed to safe guard the consumer against unscrupulous trades in the event of a claim, the HIC can also create a slippery slope for home owners. There are no requirements in order to obtain this license. For a simple fee and annual contribution, log on to the MA State web site and order yours today. The basic premise of this program is that should you hire someone, to replace your windows for example, and for whatever reason the project goes sideways, there is the possibility of financial relief. In order to reach this milestone with a cap of $ 10,000.00, the home owner must [a] prove there was a contract for the job; [b] prove the contractor was registered with the Department of Consumer affairs at the time of the contract; [c] prove the contractor pulled the permit; [d] prove a judgment or arbitration was awarded in your favor; [e] show that “all reasonable efforts to collect” were made; [f] show that a fund application was filed within 6 months of the arbitration award or court judgment and finally [g] prove that the property in question is your primary residence.

What makes this program dangerous is that is tempts some holders to intimate that he or she is licensed and insured which is a big reason why the original acronym HIC, or Home Improvement License, has since been revised to it’s present self.:

Home Improvement Contractor’s are not required by M.G.L c. 142A (the Home Improvement Contractor Law) to carry insurance. Therefore, the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation maintains no records of insurance coverage. To determine if the contractor you are considering carries insurance, ask the contractor to produce proof of insurance.

As to why anyone carries this card, in the capacity of working on secondary properties, municipalities offer a waiver that the home owner may sign. In situations pertaining to secondary homes, this waiver simply states that you acknowledge that the contractor does not possess what you can’t utilize. However, by signing this waiver, the home owner assumes the responsibility of project oversight as well as adhering to the MA State Building Code.

License Bond – While there is an exhaustive list of specific types of surety bonds, a license bond is required for the State Police Watch license application process. This particular bond speaks to the relationship between the underwriter and the State Police on behalf of the applicant verses offering any direct benefit to the home owner. Be certain to clarify this point when a bond is advertised.

Dishonesty Bond – Oddly enough, this particular bond is not required yet clearly lends the greatest peace of mind. Such as the surety, dishonesty bonds take on many forms. Most notable are dishonesty bonds which safe guard the business owner from employee embezzlement, theft and the like. Nauset Management maintains a bond which safe guards the home owner from any improprieties resulting from any direct employee.

General Liability Insurance – Nauset Management maintains two general liability policies specific to the areas of both management as well as construction and improvement.