Licensing & Registration

New Home Builders & New Home Sellers

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The Office of Consumer Protection registers any business that constructs or sells new homes in Montgomery County.  Montgomery County Code Chapter 31C and Montgomery County Executive Regulations define who is a New Home Builder and New Home Seller and details the laws applicable to New Home Builders and New Home Sellers.

This law was enacted to protect consumers by ensuring that each new home builder and new home seller has met the requirements established under Chapter 31C. Registrations are valid for two (2) years from the date of registration. 

This law was enacted to protect consumers by ensuring that each New Home Builder or New Home Seller has met the requirements established under Chapter 31C. Registrations are valid for two (2) years from the date the Registration is issued. Violators of Chapter 31C are subject to a $500.00 civil fine-- for each day of the violation-- in addition to all other remedies prescribed by the law, which may be both civil and criminal. 

 

Who must be Registered?

Montgomery County law requires any person that is in the business of constructing or otherwise creating a new residential home to register with the Office of Consumer Protection as a New Home Builder.  
A New Home Builder includes any person:

  1. That is engaged in the business of constructing or otherwise creating a new home;
  2. That undertakes to sell a new home in Montgomery County;
  3. That applies for a building permit to construct a new home in Montgomery County;
  4. That is engaged as a general contractor in the business of constructing a new home.
The law also requires any person that owns property on which a new home is constructed and is the person listed on the sales contract for a new home to be registered as a New Home Seller.

Registration Process​
Montgomery County law requires New Home Builders and New Home Sellers to be registered with the Office of Consumer Protection and to provide a new home warranty.

Chapter 31C-4 creates a Board of Registration for New Home Builders and New Home Sellers. The five (5) member board reviews applicants and certifies to the Office of Consumer Protection whether the applicant is qualified to comply with the building codes and laws of the County and State, as those duties and responsibilities relate to the construction and sale of new homes in the county. Properly completed applications will be forwarded to the Board of Registration for their review and approval.  The Board meets once each month to review registration applications.  The review process normally takes 45 to 60 days.  You will typically be notified of the Board's decision within two business days.

For New Home Builders, the Registration process requires submitting a completed Registration application, demonstrating experience in the construction trade, providing proof of insurance, banking and material references, a $805.00 non-refundable application fee and possibly a $250 fee for the State Guarantee Fund if not already Registered by the State Home Builder Registration Unit. View the "Forms" tab above for additional information.  A Registration is valid for two (2) years from the date issued.  

For New Home Sellers, the Registration process is similar. The process requires a completed Registration application which identifies the location of the new home to be sold and the registration number of the registered New Home Builder that is constructing the new home.   The New Home Seller must identify if it is related to the New Home Builder by common ownership or control.  The registration must include a $100.00 non-refundable registration fee and possibly a $250 fee for the State Guarantee Fund if not already Registered by the State Home Builder Registration Unit. View the "Forms" tab above for additional information.  A Registration is valid for two (2) years from the date issued.  

If the Board denies an application, you can appeal to the Board of Appeals located at 100 Maryland Avenue, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD. 

Maryland Home Builder Guaranty Fund
*  Important * The State of Maryland established a “Home Builder Guaranty Fund” to protect consumers who purchase new homes in Maryland.  The Maryland Attorney General’s Office will collect the appropriate fees when builders register with the State. However, New Home Builders or New Home Sellers who only build or sell in Montgomery County, and are therefore Registered only in Montgomery County, are also required to pay $250.00 to the "Office of the Attorney General" for this guaranty fund. Our office is required to collect this fee and submit it to the State of Maryland.

Accordingly, if you are  not Registered with the State of Maryland as a new home builder, in addition to your non-refundable check in the amount of $805.00 payable to “Montgomery County, MD” you must also provide a second check, in the amount of $250.00, made payable to:  Office of the Attorney General.  If you are Registered with the State of Maryland as a new home Builder, please provide your Home Builder Registration Unit number to forego this payment.

Additional Information
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Consumer Protection, Licensing & Registration Unit by calling 240.777.3636, or by email at  OCP.Licensing@montgomerycountymd.gov

How to Register
If you are Registering as a New Home Builder you need the following:

  • Completed  Application
  • Three (3) Material Supplier Reference Forms
  • ​Letter of Reference from the applicant's banking institution indicating:
    • How long the applicant has maintained a business account with them; and 
    • Verification that the business account is in good standing
  • ​Certificate of Libability Insurance demonstrating no less than $500,000 in coverage and Worker's Compensation (if applicable.)  The "Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection" must be listed as an additional named party on the insurance certificate.
  • Detailed description of applicant's building experience which can be in the form of a resume.
  • Copies of other relevant licenses held by applicant (e.g., MHIC, State building license, etc.).
  • Please note that  all documents  must be in the name of the applicant.
  • If your business is a corporation, your corporation must be registered with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation in Maryland and you must provide us with your Tax ID number, Resident Agent’s name, address and telephone number.
  • A non-refundable payment of $805.00 payable to "Montgomery County" 
  • Payment of $250.00 to the State of Maryland Guaranty Fund payable to "Office of Attorney General" if not already Registered
  • Forms must be completed and returned to this office with a check or money order for the application fee and guaranty fund payment.  
If you are Registering as a  New Home Seller you need the following:​ 
  • Completed  Application
  • A non-refundable payment of $100.00 payable to "Montgomery County" 
  • Payment of $250.00 to the State of Maryland Guaranty Fund payable to "Office of Attorney General" if not already Registered
  • Forms must be completed and returned to this office with a check or money order for the application fee and guaranty fund payment.  
  • Copies of other relevant licenses held by applicant (e.g., MHIC, State building license, etc.).
  • Please note that  all documents  must be in the name of the applicant.
  • If your business is a corporation, your corporation must be registered with the  State Department of Assessments and Taxation in Maryland and you must provide us with your Tax ID number, Resident Agent’s name, address and telephone number.
Submit Application Packet to:
Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection
Licensing & Registration Unit
100 Maryland Avenue, Suite 3600
Rockville, MD 20850

Waiver from Registration
If you are a property owner who intends to construct a New Home to be occupied by you as your personal residence, you can apply for a waiver of the Registration requirements under Chapter 31C-2(b)  by submitting the Waiver Request Form.

Additional Information
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Consumer Protection, Licensing & Registration Unit by calling 240.777.3636, or by email at  OCP.Licensing@montgomerycountymd.gov.

These FAQs apply to the law pre-May 16, 2019.  New FAQs are in development.

Licensing Qualifications/Requirements
What experience do I need to get a license?  
What documents do I need to provide in order to get a license?  
I am just starting my business – how do I get Building Material Supplier References?  
Do you offer reciprocity for licenses issued in a different jurisdiction?  
I have a Maryland Builder’s - or General Contractor's License – do I need a Montgomery County license?  
I have an MHIC license – do I need a Montgomery County license?
If sub-contractors are licensed - do I need a license?  
I am building in the City of Rockville or Gaithersburg – do I need a MontgomeryCounty license? 
I am a non-profit organization – do I need a license? 
I build condominiums - or - town homes for sale - do I need a license?
I am building a home for a friend – do I need a license?  
I am building a house for myself – do I need a license?  
I own the land and I want to build a new home for my family and myself – do I need a license?  
I do major renovation/remodeling – do I need a new home builders license?  
I am going to build a new home, but a realtor will sell the home - do I need a license?  
I have already built the house – how do I get a retroactive license? 

Insurance and Warranty Issues 
Do I need Workers’ Compensation insurance if I do not have employees? 
What warranties must I give to the home buyer?  

Fees/Penalties 
What is the cost of a license? 

How are the fees established?   

If you build without a license what are the penalties?

What experience do I need to get a license?   The builder needs to be able to demonstrate that he/she has the requisite knowledge of the construction industry and that he/she has supervised, managed, and performed the duties necessary to build a home or do major remodeling renovations. 
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What documents do I need to provide in order to get a license?   Application, three (3) material supplier references, a bank reference, Certificate of Registration for Liability Insurance and Worker's Compensation, detailed description of building experience, and copy of other relevant licenses.  All documents  must be in the name of the license applicant.  
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I am just starting my business – how do I get Building Material Supplier References?   You must establish credit accounts at three (3) building material supplier businesses. 

Do you offer reciprocity for licenses issued in a different jurisdiction?   No. However, we do encourage applicants to provide the Board with copies of any current licenses.  
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I have a State of Maryland Builder’s - or - General Contractor's License – do I need a Montgomery County license?   Yes, if you plan to build in Montgomery County. Even if you have a license issued by the State of Maryland, you are still required to have a Montgomery County Building Contractor's New Home Builder's License. See Montgomery County Code Chapter 31C2(a)(1).  The General Contractor's License does not apply to construction of residential homes.   Back to Top

I have an MHIC license – do I need a Montgomery County license?   Yes, if you plan to build new homes in Montgomery County.  An MHIC license only allows you to perform home improvements.

If sub-contractors are licensed - do I need a license?   Yes, any person acting as prime contractor to construct a new home for another person must be licensed.   Back to Top

I am building in the City of Rockville or Gaithersburg – do I need a Montgomery County license?  Yes, Chapter 31C applies in the City of Rockville, City of Gaithersburg and other municipalities in Montgomery County.
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I am a non-profit organization – do I need a license?   Yes, non-profit organizations are not exempt from Chapter 31C.   
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I build condominiums - or - town homes for sale - do I need a license?   Yes, any construction of new homes is covered by Chapter 31C. 
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I am building a home for a friend – do I need a license?   Yes, a license is needed when building a new home for another person.   
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I am building a house for myself – do I need a license?   No, as long you establish residency in the home, intend to live in the home, intend to act as the general contractor and sign an affidavit attesting that you are building the home for yourself.

I own the land and I want to build a new home for my family and myself – do I need a license?   No, as long you establish residency in the home, intend to live in the home, intend to act as the general contractor  and sign an affidavit attesting that you are building the home for yourself.   Back to Top

I do major renovation/remodeling – do I need a new home builders license?   Probably not.  Certain remodels and renovations could trigger the new home builder statute.  For general renovations, you would need to be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission . For more information on the MHIC license, please call 410.230.6309.  
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I am going to build a new home, but a realtor will sell the home - do I need a license?   Yes, a license is needed if the new home is constructed for the purpose of sale to a purchaser.  
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I have already built the house – how do I get a retroactive license?   Constructing a new home for sale without a Building Contractor's license issued by Montgomery County is illegal. Thus, you must apply for the license and meet all the requirements under Montgomery County Code Chapter 31C. You are subject to a minimum $500 fine (per day) and other penalties for violating Chapter 31C. Without the requisite license, the construction is not covered by the Maryland Home Builder's Registration Unit's Guaranty Fund.   
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Do I need Workers’ Compensation insurance if I do not have employees?   No, but a written explanation is required.   
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What warranties must I give to the buyer?   The OCP has provided a brochure with sample langauge for ease of reference which you can find by clicking here.
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What is the cost of a license?   As of September 2008, the cost of a license is $805, which is non-refundable, and valid for two (2) years.  As of October 1, 2016, the Maryland Home Builder Registration Fee is an additional non-refundable fee of $250 made payable to the "Office of the Attorney General." This additional fee is only required if the applicant is not already licensed by the State's Home Builder Registration Unit .  
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How are the fees established?   The County Executive establishes licensing fees.
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If you build without a license what are the penalties?   You may be subject to a $500 fine per day, in addition to all other remedies/penalties prescribed by Law, which may be both civil and criminal. Additionally, your consumer will not be protected by the State's Home Builder Guaranty Fund .
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I build kit or pre-fabricated homes and extensions, do I need a license?  Yes.  If you are using prefabricated pieces to build a new home, and acting as the prime contractor, you will require a builder's license.  If you are using prefabricated pieces to build an extension,  you would need to be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission. For more information on the MHIC license, please call 410.230.6309.    
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Contact Information Description
Maryland Home Improvement Commission
500 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
T: 410.230.6309
T: 888.218.5925
www.dllr.state.md.us
The Maryland Home Improvement Commission licenses and regulates home improvement contractors, subcontractors and salespersons. Home improvement work includes alteration, remodeling, repair or replacement of a building or part of a building used as a residence.
Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation
301 W. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
T: 410 767-1184
Toll Free: 800 735-2258
www.dat.state.md.us
Visit the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation to:
  • Register your business and establish legal entity
  • Register a trade name
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
11510 Georgia Avenue
Wheaton, MD 20902
T: 202 283-8097
www.irs.gov/businesses/small
Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number
Comptroller of Maryland
Revenue Administration Center
Annapolis, MD 21411
Maryland Combined Registration Application
File a combined registration form to establish your tax accounts with the Comptroller of Maryland.
Business License Information System
http://www.choosemaryland.org/blis/pages/default.aspx
Licensing and permit information for businesses in Maryland
Montgomery County Circuit Court
Montgomery Court License Department
50 Maryland Avenue, Room 111
T: 240-777-9460
Montgomery County Circuit Court
Provides information on business licenses in Montgomery County Maryland. 
Maryland Maryland Home Builder Registration Unit 
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
T:(410) 576-6573 / Toll Free: (877) 259-4525
Fax: (410) 576-6566
Email: homebuilder@oag.state.md.us
http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Pages/CPD/Homebuilder/default.aspx
Provides information on registration requirements for builders operating in the State of Maryland.