What is the Arizona Handyman Exemption?
By Paul Messina | Cotney Construction Law
The Arizona Handyman Exemption is a limited exception to the licensed contractor law in Arizona. Generally, in Arizona, as in most states, for contractors to perform work at a job site, a license by the state is required. The licensed contractor law serves an important purpose. The law seeks to prevent unskilled and incompetent individuals from causing harm to the public by providing poor workmanship that could result in both financial and physical loss. However, it is also understood that certain types of jobs, typically small odd jobs and repair work, are usually done by unlicensed individuals. To that end, Arizona created the handyman exemption; however, it placed strict limits and restrictions as to what type of work qualifies for the exemption.
What are the limitations to the Arizona Handyman Exemption?
In the state of Arizona, an unlicensed contractor can perform work on a project so long as the stated contract price, including labor, materials and all other items, are less than $1,000. If the contract price is more than $1,000, a license will be required. The exemption does not apply to multiple projects under the same contract. In that case, the individual would need to be licensed to perform such work. However, the same project can be governed by multiple contracts. Where more than one contract is involved, the combined total of the contract prices cannot exceed $1,000 for the handyman exemption to apply. The handyman exemption also does not apply when the project requires a local building permit, regardless of the value of the work.
The most important part of the Arizona Handyman Exemption is that it is only for casual or minor work. Major work, regardless of the value of the contract, labor, and material, does not qualify for the license exemption. The question becomes what is casual or minor work? Casual or minor work does not have a legal definition as it relates to the Arizona Handyman Exemption. However, it is generally thought to include work that is inconsequential or does not require sophisticated skills and knowledge. Therefore, any project that requires a local building permit is excluded from the exemption.
Why does this matter to the roofing industry?
In the roofing industry, many handymen attempt to install or repair roofs for customers. This is an issue for several reasons. First, there is a competency issue. When it comes to roofing, it is more than just shingles or tiles; it is understanding the right materials for the job, the proper design for the structure, and the proper ventilation. It is a system of many different parts, that when put all together, provide protection for the home. Licensed contractors have the experience and competency to do such work.
Second, there may be insurance issues. Some insurance companies may not pay out on claims for damage to something that was installed or repaired by an unlicensed handyman in a situation where the install or repair should have been done by a licensed contractor. On the other side, a handyman may not be bonded, whereas a licensed contractor is required by the State of Arizona to be bonded. The bond is there to protect the owner from incomplete work by the contractor. For a handyman, there is no recourse other than a breach of contract suit in court and it can be very difficult and costly to obtain any satisfactory result for the owner.
Third, when it comes to roofs in Arizona, handymen tend to have poor workmanship. Poor workmanship can have lasting and costly side effects for owners in the present, immediate future or further down the line.
So, when it comes to roofs in Arizona, it’s important to know when an unlicensed handyman can perform work at a Jobsite. Furthermore, it’s important to know the risks associated with hiring a handyman for roof work. At the end of the day, the roof protects a structure and ensuring the right licensed contractor performs the work is critical.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.