Driscoll introduces legislation to hold contractors on building projects accountable for damage to adjoining property

HARRISBURG, Dec. 16 – State Rep. Michael J. Driscoll on Monday introduced legislation to protect property owners from damages caused by construction performed on an adjoining property and allow them an avenue to collect money for damages to their property.

“Innocent bystanders have been on the hook for the cost of damages to their property caused by contractors doing work on adjoining property, and it’s not right,” Driscoll said. “I’m introducing commonsense legislation to put an end to property owners finding themselves with bills for damage caused to their home through no fault of their own. This legislation will also help contractors who might otherwise find themselves in the middle of a dispute.”

Driscoll’s legislation, H.B. 2140, would require contractors to obtain a $500,000 surety bond for each property adjoining to the one where they’re performing work, ensuring the owners of the adjoining properties aren’t liable in the event the contractor causes damage to their property.

It would require that the bond be available only to cover the cost of damages caused by the property to the adjoining property, and a contractor would have to provide proof of bonding to the municipality where the work will be performed.

The bill would allow for a civil penalty of $10,000 to for a first offense and $20,000 for each subsequent offense for any contractor who doesn’t comply.

Driscoll began researching his proposed legislation after the Klenk family, who resided in his district, lost their home when a contracting company working without the right permits on the rowhouse next door destroyed the foundation shared by the properties. The Klenk residence collapsed, according to a report by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The tragedy the Klenks experienced is not something any Philadelphian or any Pennsylvanian should have to go through,” Driscoll said. “My hope is that my legislation will prevent such a fate for other Pennsylvanians.”

More information about H.B. 2140 can be found online here.