1 IMPLEMENT ATION OF A CERTIFIED HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR'S LICENSE UNDER FLORIDA STATUTE 489 By ROBERT LASH A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN C ONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 201 4
2 2014 R obert Lash
3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT To my loving wife, Susan, whose support, motivation and encouragement inspired me to continue. Her conf idence in my ability to complete this graduate program was unyielding. I would also like to thank Dr. Raymond Issa, Dr. Larry C. Muszynski Dr. Douglas Lucas Dottie Beaupied and the entire staff o f the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of C onstruction Management for their continued support. A journey may begin with a single step but the people who help narrow the path are often overlooked. Thank you all for keeping me on track.
4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 3 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 9 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 13 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ....................... 16 Research Objective ................................ ................................ ................................ 16 2 FLORIDA'S CONTRACTOR REGULATORY AGENCY ................................ ......... 18 3 STATE BY STATE HRC LICENSING REVIEW ................................ ...................... 20 Florida Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 22 Definition of Occupation and Class Codes. ................................ ...................... 22 Licensing Impact on HRC's ................................ ................................ .............. 27 Alabama Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 30 Alaska Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 31 Arizona Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 31 Arkansas Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 33 California Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 33 Colorado Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 34 Connecticut Review ................................ ................................ ................................ 34 Delaware Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 35 Georgia Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 35 Hawaii Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 36 Idaho Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 37 Illinois Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 38 Indiana Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 38 Iowa R eview ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 39 Kansas Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 40 Kentucky Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 41 Louisiana Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 41 Maine Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 42 Maryland Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 43 Massachusetts Review ................................ ................................ ........................... 43 Michigan Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 44 Minnesota Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 44 Mississippi Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 45 Missouri Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 46
5 Montana Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 46 Nebraska Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 46 Nevada Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 47 New Hampshire Review ................................ ................................ .......................... 47 New Jersey Review ................................ ................................ ................................ 48 N ew Mexico Review ................................ ................................ ................................ 48 New York Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 49 North Carolina Review ................................ ................................ ............................ 50 North Dak ota Review ................................ ................................ .............................. 50 Ohio Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 50 Oklahoma Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 51 Oregon Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 51 Pennsylvania Review ................................ ................................ .............................. 52 Rhode Island Review ................................ ................................ .............................. 52 South Carolina Review ................................ ................................ ........................... 52 South Dakota Review ................................ ................................ ............................. 53 Tennessee Review ................................ ................................ ................................ 53 Texas Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 53 Utah Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 54 Vermont Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 54 Virginia Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 54 Washington Review ................................ ................................ ................................ 55 West Virginia Review ................................ ................................ .............................. 55 Wisconsin Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 55 Wyoming Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 56 Summary of State By State Licensing of HRCs ................................ ...................... 56 4 UNLICENSED ACTIVITY IN FLORIDA ................................ ................................ ... 59 5 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 74 Mail Survey Procedures ................................ ................................ .......................... 75 Pretest ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 76 Internet Survey Procedures ................................ ................................ .............. 76 Implementation ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 77 Group I Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ 78 Group II Survey ................................ ................................ ................................ 79 Group III Survey ................................ ................................ ............................... 80 Other Surveys ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 80 Sample Size ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 81 Survey Conducted ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 82 6 ANALYSIS OF RESULTS ................................ ................................ ....................... 83 Group I Contractors and Subcontractors ................................ ................................ 85 ............................... 87
6 Question 1.2: Which of the following categories most a ccurately reflects ................................ ................................ ... 88 Question 1.3: Which of the following most accurately reflects your ................................ ........................ 88 Question 1.4: How many years has your company been in business in Florida? ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 89 Question 1.5: Have you ever hired a handyman? ................................ ............ 90 Question 1.5A. What type of work have you had a handyman perform for your company? ................................ ................................ .............................. 91 Question 1.6: How satisfied were you with the work the most recent time you hired a handym an to work for your company? ................................ ........ 93 Question 1.7(A): Because 1099 employees are responsible for their own licenses, contractors who hire them are not responsible for their work. ........ 94 Question 1.7(B): In the state of Florida, hiring an IRS1099 unlicensed employee to do work requiring a license is against the law. .......................... 95 Question 1.7(C) : A certified or registered contractor may legally agree to let another person who is not certified or registered use his/her certification number. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 96 Question 1.8: Although Florida licenses con tractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a certified a HRC license category for those who make small repairs or improvements to homes? ................................ .............................. 97 Question 1.9: If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do you think should be included? [Please mark all that apply.] ................................ ..................... 98 Question 1.10: If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of repairs or improvements do you think should be covered? [Please mark all that apply.] ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 100 Question 1.11: If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of limits on a handyman's services do you think should be imposed? [Please mark all tha t apply.] ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 101 Question 1.12: If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, would you hire a licensed handyman if you could legally subcontract work within the s cope of the handyman license? 104 Question 1.13: Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work, contracting or handyman licensure. ..................... 105 Group II Building Officials ................................ ................................ ..................... 106 Question 2.1: Which of the following best describes your occupation? .......... 108 Question 2.2: How many years have you been employed as a building official or private building inspector? ................................ ........................... 109 Question 2.3: Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements using a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is "strongly disagree" and 5 is "strongly agree." ................................ ............................ 110
7 Question 2.4: If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do you think should be included? [Select all that apply] ................................ .............................. 112 Question 2.5: If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, w hich of the following types of small repairs or minor improvements do you think should be covered? [Select all that apply] ....... 113 Question 2.6: If the State of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of limits on the Handyman's services do you think should be imposed? [Mark all that apply] ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 114 Question 2.7: If the state of Florida were t o establish a Certified Handyman license category, should a licensed Handyman be allowed to legally subcontract work from other licensed contractors (as defined in Florida statute C hapter 489.105)? ................................ ................................ ........... 116 Question 2.9: Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work, contracting, or handyman licensure. .............................. 117 Group III Homeowners and Small Business Owners ................................ ............ 118 Question 3.1: In the last five years, have you needed the services of a handyman to make small repairs or improvements to your home? ............. 119 Qu estion 3.2: In the last five years, have you hired a handyman to make small repairs or improvements to your home? ................................ ............ 120 Question 3.3: Which of the following types of repairs/improvements have you h ired a handyman to complete in your home in the past five years? [Please Mark all that apply.] ................................ ................................ ........ 120 Question 3.4: How satisfied were you with the work the most recent time you hired a handyman to make small repairs or improvements to your home? ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 122 Question 3.5: Have you ever had any kind of problem with a handyman you hired to make small repairs or improvements to your home? ...................... 123 Question 3.6: Was the handyman you most recently hired to make small repairs or improvements to your home licensed in the state of Florida? ..... 124 Question 3.7 Please indicate whether you believe each of the following statements is true or false: ................................ ................................ .......... 125 Question 3.8: Which of the following do you believe are required by Florida law in order to receive or maintain a certified contractors' license of any type? [Please mark all that apply.] ................................ .............................. 126 Question 3.9: Which of the following legal penalties do you believe apply when hiring an unl icensed person to make small repairs or improvements on your home? [Please indicate all that apply] ................................ ............ 127 Question 3.10: Under which of the following circumstances, if any, would you consider hirin g an unlicensed person to make small repairs or improvements to your home? [Please mark all that apply] .......................... 128 Question 3.11: Although Florida licenses contractors, currently there is no handyman li cense. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a certified handyman license category for those who make small repairs or home improvements to homes? ................................ .................. 129
8 Question 3.12: If t he state of Florida were to establish a certified Handyman License category, which of the following for repairs or improvements do you think should be covered? [Please Mark all that apply.] ......................... 130 C ross Tabs Among Survey Groups ................................ ................................ ...... 132 Contractors and Subcontractors Cross Tabs ................................ ........................ 132 Inspectors and Building Officials Cross Tabs ................................ ........................ 135 Home Repair Cross Tabs ................................ ................................ ..................... 136 7 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 138 Group I Contractors and Subcontrac tors ................................ .............................. 139 Group II Building Officials ................................ ................................ ..................... 140 Group III Homeowners ................................ ................................ .......................... 140 8 RECOM MENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH ................................ ............ 142 APPENDIX A SCREEN SHOTS ................................ ................................ ................................ 144 B SURVEYS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 147 Group 1 Home Repair Survey: Contractors and Subcontractors .................... 147 Group II Home repair Survey: Building Officials ................................ ............. 151 Group 3 Home Re pair Survey ................................ ................................ ........ 154 C LETTER TO STATES ................................ ................................ ........................... 159 D STATE BY STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS ................................ .............. 160 E STATE CONTACT INFORMATION ................................ ................................ ...... 162 F WHAT CAN A HRC DO ................................ ................................ ........................ 163 G DBPR ORGANIZATIONAL CHART ................................ ................................ ...... 164 H POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE WRITTEN RESPONSES ................................ ......... 165 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 170 Statutes ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 173 Ordinances ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 177 Case Law ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 177 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 178
9 LIST OF FIGUR ES Figure page 6 1 ................................ ................................ .......... 87 6 2 ................................ ......................... 88 6 3 N umber of employees working for R espondent 's company ................................ 89 6 4 Number of years that R espondent 's company had been in business ................. 90 6 5 Responses to have you ever hired a HRC ................................ ......................... 91 6 6 Type of work th at a HRC has performed for the R espondent s .......................... 92 6 7 ................................ ................................ ........ 94 6 8 Understanding of 1099 employee laws ................................ ............................... 97 6 9 Benefits for Florida in li censing HRCs ................................ ................................ 98 6 10 Ranking of Respondent's suggested prerequisites for licensing a HRC. ............ 99 6 11 Work HRCs should be allowed to p erform if licensed ................................ ....... 101 6 12 Limits on HRCs. ................................ ................................ ................................ 104 6 13 Responses as to whether respondents would hire a licensed CHRC ............... 105 6 14 Category of Building Officials responding. ................................ ........................ 108 6 15 Number of years as a Building Official ................................ .............................. 110 6 16 Unlicensed activity and benefit to Florida if CHRCs are licensed ..................... 112 6 17 Qualifications HRC should have to be licensed ................................ ................ 112 6 18 Type of small repairs a HRC should be allowed to do ................................ ...... 114 6 19 Building Officials limits on what CHRCs can do ................................ ................ 115 6 20 HRCs subcontracting to licensed contractors ................................ ................... 116 6 21 Building Officials favor establishing a CHRC license ................................ ........ 117 6 22 Need for CHR C services ................................ ................................ .................. 120 6 23 Type of HRC work done in the last five years ................................ ................... 122
10 6 24 Satisfaction with HRCs work ................................ ................................ ............. 123 6 25 Problems with HRC's work ................................ ................................ ............... 124 6 26 Knowledge of HRC licensing prior to hire ................................ ......................... 125 6 27 True or False responses to Question 3.7 ................................ ......................... 126 6 28 qualifications for licensing CHRCs ..................... 127 6 29 Knowledge of penaltie s for hiring unlicensed contractors ................................ 128 6 30 Hiring unlicensed contractors ................................ ................................ ........... 129 6 31 Responses to whether Florida should establish a HRC license ....................... 130 6 32 Type of work CHRC should be allowed to do ................................ ................... 131 6 33 Cross Tabs of Question 1.1 with Question 1 5 showing the rel ationship between the type of contractor and if they ever hired a HRC. .......................... 132 6 34 Cross tabs Question 1.1 by Question 1.6 ................................ ......................... 133 6 35 Cro ss tab of Question 6. 1 with 6.7B. Type of contactor h iring HRCs as IRS1099 employees ................................ ................................ ......................... 134 6 36 Cross Tab of Questions 6.1 with Question 6.9 on whether Florida should establish a CHRC license ................................ ................................ ................. 135 6 37 Cross Tabs Question 6.2.1with Question 6.2.3(a) on whether unlicensed construction is detrimental to Florida ................................ ................................ 136 6 38 Cross tab of Question 3.1 with Question 3.11 on whether Florida should establish a CHRC license ................................ ................................ ................. 137
11 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements of the Degree of Masters of Science in C onstruction Management IMPLEMENT ATION OF A CERTIFIED HOME REPAIR CONTRACTOR'S LICENSE UNDER FLORIDA STATUTE 489 By R obert Lash December 2014 Chair: Raymond A. Issa Major: Construction Management Ho me owners and small business owners often seek the services of what has historical been known as a Handyman, or Handyperson (Hereafter "HRC") to repair, and make minor improvements to their homes and or offices. Florida law requires most of these repairs a nd improvements to be done by licensed professionals. Typically a Handyman is an unlicensed person illegally performing these services. Although most homeowners and business owners may not be aware of Florida's licensing laws, hiring unlicensed HRC's can have detrimental economic and legal implications on the unsuspecting owner. HRCs are usually well aware of the need to be licensed but the demand for their services outweighs the risk of being discovered by Florida's regulatory licensing agency. Florida cu rrently qualifies tests, regulates and, licenses building contractors and trade contractors who are capable of making the requested repairs, but the repairs may be so insignificant in nature that the licensed contractor is uninterested in contracting to pe rform the work. Another issue is that the repairs may require more than one type of license. Not all unlicensed activity is executed by HRCs, and therefore the state constantly attempts to locate and fine unlicensed contractors in Florida. "Sting
12 operatio ns" and "sweeps" by Florida's licensing regulatory agency are usually successful, but they do not completely stop unlicensed activity. As a result of unlicensed construction activity the state of Florida should establish a new license under Florida Statut e 489 for Home Repair Contractors. The new license should include similar educational, economic and moral requirements as those imposed on other licensees under F.S. 489. In addition, limits of what the HRC would be allowed to do must be spelled out with s pecificity. In short, this researcher is recommending that Florida establish a Florida Certified Home Repair contractor license regulated by Florida Statute 489.
13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The first recorded known use of the term Handyman was in 1872. Si nce that time, the term has become synonymous with a person who possesses the innate ability to competently do odd jobs. The Marion Webster Dictionary (2014) defines a Handyman as: "1 : a person who does odd jobs 2 : one competent in a variety of small skill s or inventive or ingenious in repair or maintenance work." Over the years the Handyman or Handyperson, has developed into a career most often associated with construction. Throughout this paper the term Handyman shall refer to both male and female Handyp ersons. Although most people understand what a Handyman is, as well as what kind of work is done by one, this study investigates the need to license a Handyman. In an effort to remain gender neutral, the term Handyman shall be considered to be synony mous throughout this paper with, and may be substituted for, the term Home Repair Contractor (Hereafter "HRC HRCs or HRC's). Florida Statute Chapter 489. 1 01 sets forth the need to regulate the construction industry. The Florida Legislature determined that it was necessary and in the best interest of public health, safety, and welfare to regulate the construction industry. Even though the State o f Florida does not recognize home repair contractors as a profe ssion there is no question that, in spite of the l ack of recognition by the State, there is no lack of unlicensed Handymen in Florida. Simply Googling the term Handyman yields thousands of Handyman web pages. Not only is it easy to find listings for a Handyman, it is even easier to find companies that wil l train a prospective Handyman. Often these companies offer franchise opportunities to assist someone
14 interested in opening a Handyman business. The franchisor might even offer to certify the franchisee as a "Certified Handyman". For example, the Associati on of Certified Handyman Professionals ( Hereafter "ACHP") offers to certify a prospective Handyman by taking a five to twenty minute test, and of course, by paying a fee of $49.99 for a one year membership, or for a mere $149.00 the applicant can obtain a lifetime membership in ACHP ( Appendix A ). Certainly companies like ACHP are beneficial in that they promote sound business concepts like fostering avenues to allow a Handyman to obtain liability and wo rker's compensation insurance. But, they also "Certify the member which might mislead the public into believing the Handyman is more qualified than he/she actually is. Some peopl e might believe in the principle of something is better than nothing, which might be the case here. However, being a member of an o rganization like ACHP does not guarantee th at the member has liability and/ or wo rker's compensation insurance. Once the member joins ACHP there is no monitoring of the Handyman to verify the continued coverage of insurances, no requirements for continuing education, and no responsibility for the Handyman's financial strength. Similar organizations like the United Handyman Association (Hereafter "UHA"), the Handyman Association of America ( HAA ) and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, Inc. (IACHI) all offer programs to "Certify" the Handyman and, all off er programs designed to include the applicant as a qualified member of their organization. In an effort to understand the difficulty and scope of knowledge required to become a member, the researcher actually took an online test offered by one o f the certification companies.
15 Based on the results, the researcher is now qualified" to join the testing company's list of Handyman. All that is left to do now is pay the fee. Paying the fee, and passing a test that most people would be able to pass, is all that is necessary to become a "Certified Handyman"; at least according to this internet company. The Certifying Company does not require training, on the job knowledge, financial stability, ethical qualifications, criminal background checks, licensing instructions, or educational prerequisites. The State of Florida does not offer a Certified Handyman license, so paying to join an organization like the ones previously mentioned pro vides the member Certification that is unobtainable elsewhere. The State of Florida does, however, certify General Contractors, Building Contractors and Residential Contractors in addition to other trades, including Specialty Contractors. Florida Statutes Â§489 Fla. Ann. (2012), lists the educational, testing, and financial responsibilities an applicant must achieve to qualify to be tested by the State to be State Certified. Small construction repair jobs like replacing leaky faucets, minor roof leaks, rep lacing a defective ceiling fan or replacing a rusty air conditioning vent must be performed by separate licensed trade contractors. Jobs such as these are often too small for licensed trade contractors to profitably perform; consequently, homeowners seek the services of an unlicensed Home Repair C ontractor to make the repairs. Some HRCs are well qualified to do the work but without proper licensing, violate state law each and every time they contract to do similar work. Without state regulation, HRC's are less likely to carry Workers Compensation and Liability insurance. The homeowner might perceive the HRC as a less expensive alternative to hiring a licensed Trade
16 contractor but that perception could be a costly mistake if the HRC is injured on the job, t he work is negligently performed, or the permitting authority of the region discovers the unlicensed work. The States Attorney has issued cease and desist orders, imposed fines, and criminal ly prosecuted individuals for ai ding and abetting unlicensed activ ity when the individual hi res an unlicensed contractor. The unlicensed HRC should also realize that a contract for work he /she is not licensed to perform is unenforceable as a matter of law. Unenforceable contracts prevent the unlicensed contractor from fi ling a valid lien. Statement of the P roblem continue to make home repairs and stay in business. Most HRCs are not licensed, insured or otherwise qualified to make the repairs r equested by homeowners but HRCs make the repairs anyway. Some HRCs may actually have the knowledge necessary to make the requested repairs but because the state of Florida does not currently offer a HR C license, knowledgeable people cannot qualify and th erefore legally make the repairs. The purpose of this study is to determine if Florida should implement a Certified Home Repair C ontractor's license under F lorida statute 489 Research Objective If the research supports the hypothesis, the data will be s ubmitted to the Florida Legislature to begin the task of further researching the possibility of creating a Certified Home Repair Contractor category under Florida Statute 489. The Florida Legislator deemed it necessary to regulate the construction industry and the refore enacted Fla. Stat. Â§489.
17 The Department of Busines s and Professional Regulations (DBPR) is the State of Florida department charged with regulating and enforcing Florida Statute Â§489. Unlicensed activity, including unpermitted home repairs, a re reported to DBPR by the public, licensed contractors or local building inspectors. When the unlicensed activity is reported to DBPR, an investigation of the alleged statutory violation is commenced. In 1980, the number of DBPR investigations and violati ons was appro ximately 61,000 state wide. By 2010, that number had grown to over 2,000,000. A significant portion of the 2010 violations occur when home repairs are undertaken without permit. Florida does not currently have a procedure to license home repair persons, but it appears that the need for establishing a State Certified Home Repair license may be both necessary and beneficial to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Florida's homeowners. It is anticipated that should the study support establish ment of a CHRC, opposition from lobbyists for existing F.S. Â§ 489 license holders may perceive the CHRC as a threat to their particular occupation The objective of this study will be to determine if Florida should implement a Certified Home Repair Contrac tor's License under Florida statute 489 Next, Chapter 2 will provide a brief introduction to the Department of Building and Professional Responsibility, Florida's construction industries regulatory agency.
18 CHAPTER 2 FLORIDA'S CONTRACTOR REGULATORY AGEN CY Unlicensed HRC's have been, and will likely continue to be, cited by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations for contracting and perform unlicensed activities. The Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR ), is un der the executive branch of the Governor and is governed by Florida S tatute 120. DBPR is structured pursuant to the requireme nts of Florida Statute 20.165. The head of DBPR is the Secretary of The Department of Business and Professional Regulations, and se rves at the pleasure of the Governor and requires confirmation by the Senate Appendix G) The Secretary is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating and executing the powers, duties and functions vested in the Department, its divisions, bureaus and other subunits of the Division of Professions. To regulate related construction work, the following boards, among others, are established under the Division of Professions and F.S. 20: The Florida Board of Bu ilding Code Administrators and Inspectors. The Construc tion Industry Licensing Board. a nd, The Electrical Contractors' Licensing Board. DBPR oversees several other boards, but the other boards such as the Board of Cosmetology are of little or no impo rta nce with regard to this study The Division of Regulations is the enforcement authority for the professional boards and programs. The Division monitors professions regulated by the Construction Industry Licensing Board and The Electrical Contractors' Licen sing Board to enforce the laws, rules and standards, set by the Florida Legislature administrative rules and professional boards. The Division's responsibilities incl ude: proactively monitoring professionals and related businesses; investigating complaints of wrongdoing; using compliance mechanisms
19 such as notices of noncompliance and citations; and performing statutorily mandated inspections. The Division is divided into six program areas: 1) Complaints; 2) Alternative Dispute Resolution; 3) Unlicensed Act ivity; 4) Compliance; 5) Farm Labor; and, 6) Child Labor. Regional offices are located in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Ft. Myers, West Palm Beach, Margate (Ft. Lauderdale) and Miami, with satellite offices in Pensacola and Tampa. Unlice nsed HRCs often run afoul of the DBPR's rules and regulations by contracting to do work that is re gulated and monitored by DBPR. Unsuspecting homeowners can easily fall victim to unlicensed HRCs by hiring a HRC who purports to be qualified and licensed to make the requested repair. By falling victim to the unlicensed contractor, the homeowner may also fall into, and suffer the consequences of hiring an unlicensed contractor. Florida can, and often does litigate against homeowners who aid and abet unlicensed activity. The next Chapter Chapter 3 reviews licensing requirements of Home Repair Contractors state by state.
20 CHAPTER 3 STATE BY STATE HRC LICENSING REVIEW Handyman, or HRCs, limitations vary from state to state and, in some states, from county to co unty. To understand the limitations imposed by each state, it was necessary to contact the licensing division of each state. Every state was contacted by Internet or regular U.S. Mail. All but eight states responded so, additional research was conducted to determine the licensing requirements of those states. Investigating licensing HRCs at the county level for States other than Florida is beyond the scope of this study as the intent of this study is to determine the need for a CHRC in Florida. Under Flor ida law, contractors licensed by counties are Registered Contractors while contractors licensed by the State are Certified Contractors. There are 67 counties, and over 400 cities in Florida, several of which were contacted to inquire about th eir local ordi nances regarding l icensing HRCs. Registered Contractors can only engage in contracting within the scope of their license and in the county that issued the license. For example, a Registered General Contractor l icensed in Alachua County is an unlicensed con tractor in Marion County and is therefore subject to disciplinary action for violating Florida law. DBPR has little or no control over Registered contractors as that duty falls on the county that licensed the contractor. The Florida Legislature resolved th e problem by enacting Florida Statute 489.118 in 1999 This Statute allowed Registered Contractors to convert their l icense to a State Certified Contractors License simply by application. Florida Statute Â§489 has been amended and currently allows Registere d Contractors to become Certified through November 2015, however, some restrictions apply. The Grandfathering statute is good for all license categories offered
21 at the State level. Some counties require Specialty Licenses which are not offered at the state level. Those Licenses are still governed and administered by the city or county that issued them. City an d County ordinances cannot lesse n the State's Licensing requirements. For example, if a prerequisite for State Licensure mandates that the applicant m ust have 5 years of experience in the selected category, the City or County cannot redu ce that prequalification to 4 years for the same type of license. However, it all depends on the facts of each case. A Registered Plumber, properly licensed in Miami Dad e County, was doing work in Coral Gables. Coral Gables, Florida is a city in Miami Dade County. The City of Coral Gables refused to recognize the plumber's Registered License with Miami Dade County inasmuch as the City had, "considering its characteristics as a community of culture and beauty", adopted a higher standard for plumbing work done within its boundaries with which the respondent would have to comply. As a consequence, a warrant was issued for respondent's arrest charging him with doing plumbing w ork without first obtaining a permit from the City. In this case, the Dade Co unty Metropolitan Charter, known as the Miami Dade Code of Ordinances allowed each city within its jurisdiction to enact higher standards than Miami Dade's Charter. The case went to trial and the Distri ct Court found in favor of the p lumber. The City appealed the case and the Appellate Co urt also found in favor of the p lumber. The city sought certiorari from the Florida Supreme Court. Upon review of the facts, the court denied cer tiorari but determined that "there is no logical relationship between the qualifications of a plumber or the quality of his work and the aesthetic and cultural features of the City of Coral Gables and that, consequently, it cannot be successfully
22 argued th at the regulation of the plumbing trade is a matter so peculiar to that city as to justify denominating it purely local". City ordinances vary from county to county, and city to city, but the underlying issue for contactors always comes back to a compar is on of city, county and state l icensing requirements. No matter what, HRC's remain a topic of great public concern and the scope of work HRC s are allowed to do continues to be the subject of debate between city ordinances and state licensing statutes. Flo rida Review The State of Florida currently offers the following definiti ons pursuant to Florida statute 489 for construction regulated l icenses that unlicensed HRC's typically ignore when performing unlicensed work: Definition of Occupation and Class Code s. General Terms In general the term "contractor" means the person who is qualified for, and shall only be responsible for, the project contracted for and means, except as exempted in this part, the person who, for compensation, undertakes to, submits a bi d to, or does himself or herself or by others construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate, for others or for resale to others; and whose job scope i s substantially similar to the job scope described in one of the subsequent paragraphs of this subsection. For the purposes of regulation under this part, "demolish" applies only to demolition of steel tanks over 50 feet in height; towers over 50 feet in h eight; other structures over 50 feet in height, other than buildings or residences over three stories tall; and buildings or residences over three stories tall. A certified contractor means any contractor who possesses a certificate of competency issued by the department and who shall be allowed to contract in any jurisdiction in the state without being required to fulfill the competency requirements of that jurisdiction. Certified contractors are designated by an occupation code which begins with the let ter C ". A registered contractor means any contractor who has registered with the department pursuant to fulfilling the competency requirements in the jurisdiction for which the registration is issued. Registered contractors may
23 contract only in such jur isdictions. Registered contractors are designated by an occupation code which begins with the letter R ". swimming pool specialty contractor contractor whose scope of work is limited to the scope of work of their particular specialty licen se. Swimming pool specialty contractor licenses may be issued in the areas of layout, structural, excavation, trim, decking, piping, and finishes. Swimming pool specialty contractors may not contract directly with the public, and must work under contract, under the supervision, and within the scope of work of a contractor licensed pursuant to Sections 489.105(3)(j) (l), Florida Statutes. Definitions including the occupation codes and class codes, where applicable CG and RG A general contractor means a contractor whose services are unlimited as to the type of work which he or she may do. CB and RB A building contractor means a contractor whose services are limited to the construction of commercial buildings and single dwelling or multiple dwelling r esidential buildings. These buildings cannot exceed three stories in height. A building contractor may also construct the "accessory use structures" in connection with these buildings. An accessory use structure would be a garage, guest house, garden shed, or other outbuilding. A building contractor is also a contractor whose services are limited to remodeling, repair, or improvement of any size building if the services do not affect the structural elements of the building. CR and RR A residential con tractor means a contractor whose services are limited to construction, remodeling, repair, or improvement of one family, two family, or three family residences which are not more than two stories and the "accessory use structures" in connection with these buildings. An accessory use structure would be a garage, guest house, garden shed, or other outbuilding. CS and RS A sheet metal contractor means a contractor whose services are unlimited in the sheet metal trade and who has the experience and skill n ecessary for the manufacture, fabrication, assembling, handling, erection, installation, dismantling, conditioning, adjustment, insulation, alteration, repair, servicing, or design of ferrous or nonferrous metal work of U.S. No. 10 gauge or its equivalent or lighter gauge. A sheet metal contractor may also work with other materials, including, but not limited to, fiberglass. CC and RC A roofing contractor means a contractor whose services are unlimited in the roofing trade. Roofing contractors have the experience, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, alter, extend, or design and use materials and items used in the installation, maintenance, extension, and alteration of all kinds of roofing,
24 waterproofing, and coating, except when coating is not represented to protect, repair, waterproof, stop leaks, or extend the life of the roof. The scope of work of a roofing contractor also includes required roof deck attachments and any repair or replacement of wood roof sheathing or fascia as needed during roof repair or replacement. CA and RA A class A air conditioning contractor means a contractor whose services are unlimited in the execution of contracts requiring the experience, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, fabricate, alt er, extend, or design central air conditioning, refrigeration, heating, and ventilating systems. Class A Contractors may also execute contracts requiring experience in the installation, maintenance, repair, fabrication, alteration, extension or design of duct work in connection with a complete system but only to the extent that such duct work is performed by the contractor as is necessary to complete an air distribution system, boiler and unfired pressure vessel systems, and all appurtenances, apparatus, o r equipment used in connection with them. A "class A air conditioning contractor" shall not perform any work such as liquefied petroleum or natural gas fuel lines within buildings, potable water lines or connections, sanitary sewer lines, swimming pool pip ing and filters, or electrical power wiring. CA and RA A class B air conditioning contractor means a contractor whose services are limited to 25 tons of cooling and 500,000 BTU of heating in any one system in the execution of contracts requiring the ex perience, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, fabricate, alter, extend, or design central air conditioning, refrigeration, heating, and ventilating systems, including duct work in connection with a complete system. A "class B air conditionin g contractor" shall not perform any work such as liquefied petroleum or natural gas fuel lines within buildings, potable water lines or connections, sanitary sewer lines, swimming pool piping and filters, or electrical power wiring. CA and RA A class C air conditioning contractor means a contractor whose business is limited to the servicing of air conditioning, heating, or refrigeration systems, including any duct cleaning and equipment sanitizing which requires at least a partial disassembling of the s ystem, and whose certification or registration, issued pursuant to this part, was valid on October 1, 1988 NOTE: No person not previously registered or certified as a "class C air conditioning contractor" as of October 1, 1988, shall be so registered or certified after October 1, 1988. CM and RM A mechanical contractor means a contractor whose services are unlimited in the execution of contracts requiring the experience, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, fabricate, alter, extend, or design central air conditioning, refrigeration, heating, and ventilating systems, including duct work in connection with a complete
25 system. A "mechanical contractor" shall not perform work that involves potable water lines or connections, sanitary sewer l ines, swimming pool piping and filters or electrical power wiring. CP and RP A commercial pool/spa contractor means a contractor whose scope of work involves, but is not limited to: the construction, repair, and servicing of any swimming pool, or hot t ub or spa, including the repair or replacement of existing equipment or the installation of new equipment, as necessary; the layout, excavation, operation of construction pumps for dewatering purposes, steelwork, installation of light niches, construction of floors, guniting, fiberglassing, installation of tile and coping, installation of all perimeter and filter piping, installation of all filter equipment and chemical feeders of any type, plastering of the interior, construction of decks, construction of equipment rooms or housing for pool equipment, and installation of package pool heaters; and includes the scope of work of a swimming pool/spa servicing contractor. A "commercial pool/spa contractor" cannot perform direct connections to a sanitary sewer s ystem or to potable water lines. The installation, construction, modification, or replacement of equipment permanently attached to and associated with the pool or spa for the purpose of water treatment or cleaning of the pool or spa requires licensure; how ever, the usage of such equipment for the purposes of water treatment or cleaning shall not require licensure unless the usage involves construction, modification, or replacement of such equipment. CP and RP A residential pool/spa contractor means a co ntractor whose scope of work involves, but is not limited to: the construction, repair, and servicing of any residential swimming pool or hot tub or spa including the repair or replacement of existing equipment or the installation of new equipment, as nece ssary; the layout, excavation, operation of construction pumps for dewatering purposes, steelwork, installation of light niches, construction of floors, guniting, fiberglassing, installation of tile and coping, installation of all perimeter and filter pipi ng, installation of all filter equipment and chemical feeders of any type, plastering of the interior, construction of decks, installation of housing for pool equipment, and installation of package pool heaters; and includes the scope of work of a swimmin g pool/spa servicing contractor. A "residential pool/spa contractor" cannot perform direct connections to a sanitary sewer system or to potable water lines. The installation, construction, modification, or replacement of equipment permanently attached to a nd associated with the pool or spa for the purpose of water treatment or cleaning of the pool or spa requires licensure; however, the usage of such equipment for the purposes of water treatment or cleaning shall not require licensure unless the usage invol ves construction, modification, or replacement of such equipment.
26 CP and RP A swimming pool/spa servicing contractor means a contractor whose scope of work involves the servicing and repair of any swimming pool or hot tub or spa. The scope of such work may include any necessary piping and repairs, replacement and repair of existing equipment, or installation of new additional equipment as necessary. The scope of such work includes: the reinstallation of tile and coping, repair and replacement of all pip ing, filter equipment, and chemical feeders of any type, replastering, reconstruction of decks, and reinstallation or addition of pool heaters; the installation, construction, modification, substantial or complete disassembly, or replacement of equipment permanently attached to and associated with the pool or spa for the purpose of water treatment or cleaning of the pool or spa requires licensure; and however, the usage of such equipment for the purposes of water treatment or cleaning shall not require lic ensure unless the usage involves construction, modification, substantial or complete disassembly, or replacement of such equipment. CF and RF A plumbing contractor means a contractor whose contracting business consists of the execution of contracts req uiring the experience, financial means, knowledge, and skill to install, maintain, repair, alter, extend, or, when not prohibited by law, design plumbing. A plumbing contractor may install, maintain, repair, alter, extend, or design the following without o btaining any additional local regulatory license, certificate, or registration: sanitary drainage or storm drainage facilities; venting systems; public or private water supply systems; septic tanks; drainage and supply wells; swimming pool piping; irrigation systems; or solar heating water systems and all appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection with these, including boilers and pressure process piping and including the installation of water, natural gas ( excluding liquid petroleum gases), and storm and sanitary sewer lines; and water and sewer plants and substations; the design and installation, maintenance, repair, alteration, or extension of air piping, vacuum line piping, oxygen line piping, nitrous oxi de piping, and all related medical gas systems; fire line standpipes and fire sprinklers to the extent authorized by law; ink and chemical lines; fuel oil and gasoline piping and tank and pump installation, except bulk storage plants; and pneumatic contro l piping systems. CV A solar contractor means a contractor whose services consist of the installation, alteration, repair, maintenance, relocation, or replacement of solar panels for potable solar water heating systems, swimming pool solar heating syst ems, and photovoltaic systems and any appurtenances, apparatus, or equipment used in connection with these systems.
27 SCC, RX A specialty contractor means a contractor whose scope of work and responsibility is limited to a particular phase of constructio n and whose scope is limited to a subset of the activities described in the categories established in s. 489.105, F.S. CE and RE A "Electrical Contractor means an electrical contractor who possesses a certificate of competency issued by the department. ( Construction Industry Licensing Board) Licensing Impact on HRC's Based on the listed license categories, it is easy to see how a HRC could stray into a licensed area while performing minor or inconsequential work on a home or small business. Because Florid a does not offer a CHRC License, HRCs can easily be guilty of contracting to do work they cannot legally execute. Some examples of work that can, and cannot be, done with and without a license can be found in Appendix F Consequently, if the work is not in cluded in the Definition of Occupation and Class Codes it can be performed by anyon e without a Certified License. Generally speaking, a certified or registered contractor's license must be obtained for any electrical, plumbing, remodeling, new constructio n, commercial construction, roofing, alarm, pool, structural aluminum or other work requiring a permit. It is also advisable that a person doing work for another for compensation check with the local building department to verify local licensing requiremen ts before proceeding with any work. HRCs might find some relief under the, so called "Jim Walters Exclusion" that allows exemption from licensing for some specialty contractors if the Specialty Contractor is under the direct supervision of a certified or r egistered general, building, or residential contractor However, to avoid the pitfalls of unlicensed contracting, the unlicensed Specialty Contractor must be in engaged by the Certified or Registered Contractor and cannot be in privity with the owner of th e project.
28 Prior to 2007, some counties in Florida mistakenly called a tax to do business in the county an Occupational License. The license simply asked the licensee to list the type of business the licensee intended to conduct Individuals unlicensed un der Florida Statute 489 would list building contractor as their profession. The unscrupulous individual then claimed that they were licensed. The Occupational License was, and still is, a tax levied by the county in which the entity or individual operates. To avoid confusion, the legislator amended Florida Statute 205 mandating that counties demanding entities to purchase an Occupational License rename the Occupational License the Local Business Tax. The definition of Contractor as previously stated, by ex cluding "work substantially similar to the job scope described in one of the subsequent paragraphs...", allows a HRC to contract for anything that does not fit into a defined scope of work. This exclusion is crucial when determining whether the HRC is perf orming unlicensed work. If the work is not defined in one of the licensing categories, the HRC can legally do the work. Florida's Licensing laws also restrict Licensed Contractors from contracting to do work that might appear to be within the scope of tha t particular License. For example, a Certified Mechanical Contractor (CM) who contracts to install a water to air heat pump, is guilty of unlicensed activity if the Certified Mechanical Contractor connects a potable water source to the system. Water to air heat pumps must have a water source such as water from a well. If that water source also supplies potable water to a residence or commercial building the licensed Mechanical Contractor is performing unlicensed work and is subject to disciplinary and legal scrutiny.
29 Conversely, the definition of Certified Plumbing Contractor (CF), virtually eliminates any opportunity for a HRC to initiate repair of any portion of the plumbing system. Florida Courts strictly construe Florida Statute 489 when determining unl icensed activity. To illustrate how unyielding Florida courts can be, an agreement between a landlord and a tenant to repair portions of the tenant occupied property was the tenant, brought an action a gainst the landlord to recover monies owed by the Landlord to the Tenant under an oral agreement to renovate the building. The property was owned by the Landlord and occupied by the Tenant. The Tenant expended money and labor to renovate the property, incl uding some minor plumbing repairs. The Tenant also paid the Landlord $500 .00 in rent per month. When renovations were complete, the property was sold and the Tenant filed suit to recover the cost of material for the work the Tenant pr ovided. The Tenant cla ime d that the minor plumbing work was supervised by a licensed contractor and that the only claim was for material provided, not labor. The Court concluded that the Tenant worked as a contractor as defined by Florida Statute 489.105 and that the agreement was unenforceable in law and equity "even though the major portion of the work was that of a typical home improvement/handyman." Florida's laws make it difficult for a HRC to legally do minor repairs for compensation. Florida is not the only state in the U nion that restricts HRC's. Although Florida's laws pertaining to HRC are among the strictest in the nation, some states take a more lenient approach. Like Florida, several states also offer different rules for counties and cities within their respective g eog raphic areas. Because this study is based on State Certification, no attempt was made to contact individual counties or
30 cities other than those in Florida. It is possible that some counties and cities within the country may offer a license for HRCs. Of the 50 states surveyed, only Alabama, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania did not respond to the letter sent ( Appendix B ) After several attempts to gather the requested information from the nonresponsive sta tes, the information was obtained by telephone conferences with state officials, reviewing the appropriate section of each state's statutes and through I nternet searches. Ultimately all 50 states were researched. A brief discussion in alphabetical order, of what each state currently requires, or in some cases does not require Alabama Review Alabama does not offer a HRC license. Alabama requires a license for the alteration, maintenance, repair, rehabilitation, remediation, reclamation, or demolition of an y building, highway, sewer, structure, site work, grading, paving or project or any improvement in the State of Alabama where the cost of the undertaking including labor and materials is $50,000 .00 or more or up to $5,000.00 for a swimming pool repair. No testing is administered to become a contractor, however, Alabama reserves the right to test an applicant, but that option is seldom exercised. Trade contractors such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical contractors must be licensed. Although Alabama does not offer a HRC license, no license is required for work up to $50,000.00 as long as all trade work is performed by licensed trade contractors. Because contracts below $50,000.00 do not need to be executed by a licensed contractor, a HRC should prosper in Alab ama, as long as the HRC subcontracts to licensed trade contractors. Of course, it all depends on local counties or municipalities additional requirements.
31 Alaska Review Alaska does not offer a HRC License, but like several other states some work is exclu ded from permitting and theref ore can be performed by a HRC. Alaska allows work under $10,000.00 to be done without a license as long as the work does not include electrical, and or, mechanical work. Basically, a license by exclusion. But if the individual advertises, submits a bid to work as a contractor, subcontracts work or works as a subcontractor for a licensed contractor, t he y cannot do the work. Arizona Review Arizona does not offer a HRC license, but it does provide a Handyman Exclusion. Arizona Sta tute Title 32 Chapter 10 Article 1 Section 32.1121.A.14 is entitled Person's not required to be licensed; penalties; applicability. The statute in its pertinent part states that a license is not required by; "Any person other than a licensed contractor eng aging in any work or operation on one undertaking, or project by one or more contracts, for which the aggregate contract price, including labor, materials and all other items... is less than one thousand dollars". The work or operations that are exempt und er this paragraph shall be of a casual or minor nature. This exemption does not apply if a permit is required. If the Handyman advertises in anyway, he must include language disclosing that he is not a licensed contractor. Arizona design professionals are governed by the Arizona Board of Technical Registration fond in A.R.S. Â§101. The Arizona Board of Technical Registration regulates architects certified remediation specialists, drug laboratory, site remediation firms, engineers, geologists, home inspectors landscape architects, and surveyors. Contractors are licensed under A.R.S. 1101 but some exemptions from licensing can be found in A.R.S. 1121:
32 Persons not required to be licensed include a ny materialman, manufacturer or retailer who furnishes finished p roducts, materials or articles of merchandise and who does not install or attach such items or install or attaches such items if the total value of the sales contract or transaction involving such items and the cost of the installation or attachment of suc h items to a structure do not exceed one thousand dollars, including labor, materials and all other items, but excluding any electrical fixture or appliance that was designed by the manufacturer, that is unaltered, unchanged or unmodified by any person, th at can be plugged into a common household electrical outlet utilizing a two pronged or three pronged electrical connector and that does not use any other form of energy, including natural gas, propane or other petroleum or gaseous fuel, to operate or is a ttached by a nail, screw or other fastening device to the frame or foundation of any residential structure. The materialman, manufacturer or retailer shall inform the purchaser that the installation may also be performed by a licensed contractor whose nam e and address the purchaser may request. Employees of the owners of condominiums, townhouses, cooperative units or apartment complexes of four units or less or the owners' management agent or employees of the management agent repairing or maintaining struc tures owned by them are exempt unless a permit is required by either the state or the local permitting authority. Arizona's statutes make it difficult for HRC's to do work in excess of $1000. In addition to the dollar limitation, if a permit is required, the HRC will be precluded from performing the work. By limiting the maximum dollar value of the work and incorporating the necessity to have a licensed contractor perform any work requiring a license, HRCs might want to relocate to another state or seek ot her employment opportunities in Arizona. Arizona is not a state that encourages HRCs as it is laws strictly limit what a n HRC is allowed to do.
33 Arkansas Review ractors doing work over $2,000 on a single home improvement project. This is a relatively new requirement only coming into effect on January 1, 2012. ich lets the individual do just about anything at a residence) to specific trades such as painting, floor covering, roofing, etc. license which is relatively easy to obtain, the Construction Board looks almost extremely beneficial to the citizens of Arkansas. However, as with other states, HVAC the Contractors Licensing Board. Contractors are always cautioned to check with the local permitting authority regarding licensing at the local level. California Review California offers a limited HRC exemption. The California state licensing board does not license a person to perform handyman work. California has an exemption under its Business and Professions Code 7048 that allows a handy man to work without a license as long as the aggregate cost to the consumer is below $500, that the work or operations being considered are of a casual, minor, or inconsequential nature. Handymen are not allowed to advertise and if they do, the exemption i s void and they could be prosecuted under Section 7028 of the Business and Professions Code.
34 California does not mention who purchases the material. That could help the HRC. Colorado Review Colorado does not require HRCs to be licensed. Colorado licenses a rchitects, engineers, and land surveyors. Colorado does not require the licensure of contractors at the state level. Although there is no specific mention of HRC's in the Colorado statutes, HRCs as individuals wishing to perform the services of a handyman could simply call themselves a contractor. Because there is no exclusion, or category for contractors under the Colorado statutes, HRC's should be able to perform the work that any contractor can do in Colorado. Connecticut Review Connecticut offers a HRC/ HIC license. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection allows a "handymen" to hold a home improvement contractor license by first registering with the state for a fee (Con n. Gen. Stat. Ann. 421). No testing is involved. Part of the fee for the license funds The Home Improvement Guarantee Fund which is similar to Florida's Recovery Fund for people w ronged by Licensed Contractors. There are licenses which pertain to home improvement which require additional licensing, especially trade licenses. Trade licenses require test ing and educational attainment. Under the Connecticut Home Improvement Act, an in dividual and/or business is required to register with the Department of Consumer Protection if they are contracting with a consumer to perfor m work on residential property. Home Improvement is defined as any permanent change to residential property, inclu ding but not limited to driveways, swimming pools, porches, garages, roofs, siding,
35 insulation, flooring, patios, landscaping, painting, fences, doors and windows, and waterproofing. Delaware Review Delaware does not provide a HRC license. Delaware does re quire electrical, plumbing, and HVAC licensure. Any person desiring to engage in business in Delaware as either a contractor or any person engaged in the business of furnishing labor and materials in connection with all or any part of the construction, alt eration, repairing, dismantling or demolition of buildings, must obtain a license from the Division of Revenue. To obtain a license an individual or corporation only needs to register and obtain a business license from the Delaware Division of Revenue. Onc e again, a HRC can become a contractor and do work other than that of a trade contractor as defined by Delaware law. 30 Del. C. Â§2503 imposes some additional restrictions on out of state contractor doing work in Delaware. This statute states in pertinent p art that "(a)ny person or firm who willfully or knowingly fails or refuses to..." furnish "...the Department of Finance within 10 days after entering into any contract with a contractor or subcontractor not a resident of this State, a statement of the tot al value of such contract, or contracts, together with the names and addresses of the contracting parties "shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $3,000, or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both". Georgia Rev iew Georgia does not offer a HRC license. Georgia licenses contractors and imposes restrictions on the scope of work which may be executed by counties and cities in Georgia. Local governments may impose restrictions on work that is not otherwise addressed at the state level. Local jurisdictions that impose restrictions equal to or
36 greater than that of the state, may issue local licenses to contractors who elect to operate in that jurisdiction only. Unlicensed contractors violating the licensure statutes sub ject themselves to criminal fines of not less than $500, imprisonment of up to three months, or both. Additionally, contracts performed by unlicensed contractors are unenforceable and the contractor is precluded from recovering on any lien or bond claim f or any labor, services, or material provided under such a contract. See Ga. Code Ann. Â§ 43 41 17 (b). Contractors can hire specialty contractors and tra de contractors, but cannot self perform specialty or trade contractor's work. HRCs are not considered specialty contractors and there is no provision in the Georgia statutes to allow HRCs to contract for any type of work in Georgia. As with other states, HRCs might be allowed to make minor repairs subject to additional laws and ordinances imposed by the specific jurisdiction in which they intend to work. Hawaii Review Hawaii offers a limited exemption for HRCs. Hawaii does not require a contractor's license for work that does not require a permit and when the total contra ct amount is less than $1,000 .00 Although Hawaii does not offer a Handyman License, Hawaiians often refer to contracto rs that do work under $1,000 .00 as a Handyman. As with other states, trade contractors must be licensed and pull permits even if the work is less than $1,000 .00 so a Hand yman cannot do trade contractor work even if t he repair is less than $1,000 .00 Hawaii HRCs are probably limited to such things as pressure w ashing, painting and other non t rade related work. The catch all here is that what a
37 han dyman can do under the $1,0 00.00 limit cannot include any work that a licensed trade contractor does, even when the repair is inconsequential. Idaho Review Idaho does not offer a HRC license. Idaho issues registrations, not licenses, to contractors, no skills test or or for that m atter testing of any sort is involved, just submit a completed application and you are registered. During the registration process, the applicant is asked to provide a code number for his type of construction (drywall, painting, etc.) that best suits him, but once registered he is authorized to perform construction as defined per Idaho Code 54 5203 which is entitled the "Idaho Contractor Registration Act". The HRC can also register for multiple code numbers. The code defines Construction, Contractor and Con performance of building, altering, repairing, adding to, subtracting from, improving, reconstructing, moving, excavating, wrecking or demolishing any building, highway, road, bridge, or other structure, project development or improvement to real property, or to do any part thereof, including the erection of scaffolding or other structures or works. "Contractor" means any person who in any capacity, including a construction manager, undertakes, offers to underta ke, purports to have the capacity to undertake, or submits a bid to, or does so himself or by or through others, performs construction." Contracting is a regulated activity in Idaho. All contractors are required to register with the Board. HVAC, Public Wo rks, Plumbing, Electrical, and Construction Manager Contractors, on the other hand, are required to be licensed with the Division of Building
38 Safety and need only t o register with the Idaho State Contractors B oard if they do work outside that license. Illinois Review Illinois does not offer a HRC license. Illinois does not have a statewide act or statute providing for the licensure of building and general contractors. As with other such similarly situated stat es, local ordinances may require licensure of building and general contractors. Illinois does however license plumbers, water well and pump installation contractors, irrigation contractors, roofing contractors, land surveyors, HVAC and electrical contracto rs. Unless a particular jurisdiction requires the licensing of the contractor, HRCs would be allowed to perform any services other than those trades requiring a license as previously stated. Indiana Review Indiana does not offer a HRC license. Indiana does not have a statewide act or statute providing for the licensing of building and or general contractor. However, the state of Indiana does not license electrical contractors, HVAC contractors. With the exception of plumbing contractors, the remaining trade s are generally regulated by local authorities under the delegation of powers afforded to local authorities under state law. Plumbing contractors are regulated by the Indiana plumbing commission. Unless precluded by local authorities HRCs will likely be al lowed perform work with the exception of trade contractor work requiring a license. Indian a also requires that all contracts for ho me improvement exceeding $150.00 be in writing. This limitation is a loophole that HRCs can use to their advantage, but the l imiting amount of $150.00 establishes a barrier that precludes most minor home repairs.
39 Indian relies on its counties to regulate the construction industry. As with some other States, Indiana places the responsibility of monitoring and licensing contractor s within the jurisdiction of its counties. Each county establishes ordinances that may, or may not, allow HRC to contract for some work while being unlicensed. Iowa Review Iowa does not offer a HRC license or, for that matter, a contractor's license of any sort. Contractors are required to register with the Labor Commissioner, demonstrate that the contractor meets the requirements for workers compensation coverage and has an employer identification account number for unemployment compensation. Contractor re gistration does not require testing. Information, applications and bond forms pertaining to contrac tor registration may be viewed and downloaded from Iowa's web site: www.iowaworkfo rce.org/labor/contractor.htm In addition to Iowa's registration requirement, if the Handyman is performing electrical, plumbing or air conditioning work, the HRC must obtain the license specific to the type of trade contracting work the HRC intends to re pair. The specific trade licenses are administered through other Iowa agencies. The Iowa Department of Public Safety administers specific license pertaining to Electricians & Alarm Installers. The Iowa Department of Public Health administers specific licen ses pertaining to Plumbers, HVAC and Lead Abatement Contractors. Contractors must be registered with the state if their annual income from any related construction activity exceeds $2,000.00 per year. The registration fee is $50.00 per year, but a self em ployed contractor who does not pay more than $2,000 annually in wages to others working with them, and who does not work with, or for, other contractors in the same phase of construction, may be exempt under Iowa law. It might
40 be rater difficult for a HRC to exist on an annual salary of less than $2,000.00 unless he either illegally performs the work. It is possible that by imposing such a low limit, Iowa is actually bolstering the undercover world of unlicensed activity. Kansas Review Kansas does not offer a HRC license. Kansas Statute Chapter 12, article 15 regulates "construction professionals" including plumbers, electricians, HVAC contractors and general, building and residential contractors. The Statute does not regulate contractors at the state level. Kansas regulates "Technical professions" which only include engineers, land surveyors, architects, landscapers and geologists as defined in K.S.A. 74 7001 et seq., and amendments thereto. The State is a filing agency with no statutory or regulatory power to grant business licenses. Licenses are issued at the county or city level and can vary by, between and among counties and cities. To stay on the correct side of a county/city ordinance, individuals seeking licensure must investigate the ordinances in th e geographic area in which they intend to work. Prospective licensees may contact the Kansas Department of Health & Environment toll free 1 866 865 3233 or 785 296 7278 or the Kansas Department of Commerce 785 296 5298 for answers to specific licensing re quirements. Another helpful online resource would be www.kansas.gov the official website for the state of Kansas. On the State level, Kan. Stst. Ann.Â§Â§ 74 7031, 74 7033 allow licensing by exemption for ar chitects and engineers. No such state exemption is offere d for contractors or HRCs. Kan. Stst. Ann.Â§15 556 designated Block and Associates, Florida Farm Bureau Building, 5700 S.W. 34th St., #1303, Gainesville, Florida 32608, as the standard examiner for de termining and testing the qualification of persons seeking
41 licensure as general contractors, building contractors and residential contractors for the purposes of this act at the local level. Interestingly, the Block exam is no longer available. Kentucky Re view Kentucky does not offer a HRC license, but it does enforce regulations when an unlicensed contractor ventures into a regulated license category. Kentucky Statute K.R.S. Â§ 198B.130(1) states that "any person damaged as a result of a violation of state building codes has a cause of action against the person who committed the violation." This violation is a private right of action independent of all other remedies. Kentucky does not require a person or business entity to have a license, certificate, or pe rmit to act as a general contractor. Because Kentucky does not require licensing for contractors, HRCs can legally perform any duties not requiring a license. HRCs straying into licensed territories are subject to criminal penalties. For instance practicin g unlicensed Plumbing is a crime punishable by fine or prison pursuant to K.R.S. Â§ 318.990. In short, HRC's must carefully select work that does not require a license, or suffer the consequences. Louisiana Review Louisiana does not offer a HRC license but registration may be all that is necessary. Louisiana law prohibits any person, firm or corporation to engage in the business of contracting "without having qualified as a contractor under the provisions of the Contractor's Licensing Law"; La. Rev. Stat. Â§ L37:2150 2163. Fines of up to $500, or three months in prison, or both may result from violations for contracting without proper licensure; La. Rev. Stat. Ann. Â§ L37:2160C. However, Louisiana offers a Home
42 Improvement registration category that enables a Home Improvement Contractor to reconstruct, alter, renovate, repair, modernize, convert, improve, remove, or demolish, or construct an addition to any pre existing owner occupied building which building is used or designed to be used as a residence or dwel ling unit, or to structures which are adjacent to such residence or building; La. Rev. Stat. Â§Â§ L37:2150.7,8 Home Improvement contractors are limited to repairs between $1,500.00 and $75,000.00. Registration does not involve testing. If the improvement, o r repair, is below $1,500.00, no registration or licensing is not necessary. Maine Review Maine does not offer a HRC license but it may not be necessary. Maine does not recognize or license persons practicing as contractors. Maine defines a contractor as a person or entity that contracts with an owner to perform work on real property; Main Statute 10 M.R.S.A. Â§ 1111(3) (1999). To protect homeowners from unscrupulous contractors, Maine established the Home Construction Contracts Act. The act mandates that an y home construction, contracted for more than $3,000.00, including materials and labor, be in writing and signed by both parties. The act also outlines details that must be included in the contract. The contractor must warrant that the work is free from fa ulty materials; constructed in a skillful manner and fit for habitation or appropriate use. Maine may very well be another HRC friendly state as there is no license for contractors and the Home Construction Contracts Act only applies to contracts in excess of $3,000.00. HRC contracts often fall below the $3,000.00 threshold set by Main's Home Construction Contracts Act. Main may be a state that HRCs could actually survive in. The only catch, as with other states, is that the state statute can be overwritten by additional local restrictions.
43 Maryland Review Maryland does offer a HRC license. Unlike many other states, Maryland licenses home improvement contractors. Maryland defines a Home Improvement Contractor as one who alters, converts, improves, modernizes remodels, repairs, or replaces, a building or part of a building that is used or designed to be used as a residence or dwelling place or structure adjacent to the dwelling place. The Maryland licensed home improvement contr actor may a lso connect, install or replace in the building or structure, a dishwasher, disposal, or refrigerator with ice maker to existing exposed household plumbing lines. Home Improvement Contractors cannot construct a new home, connect, install, or replace an appliance to existing exposed plumbing line that requires alteration of the plumbing line. A home improvement license does not allow the contractor to do work on an apartment complex containing four or more single family units or work on the common areas of an apartment complex In order to obtain the license a satisfactory score must be obtained on Maryland's Home Improvement Contractors exam. Massachusetts Review Massachusetts does not offer a HRC license. Massachusetts specifically regulates home improvement services for owne r occupied residences defined as "residential contracting services". Under Massachusetts law, no person may provide, or offer to the owner occupants, or agree to provide residential contracting services unless he or she is registered with, and approved by, the Bureau of Building Regulations and Standards. Residential contracting services are defined as follows: "the reconstruction alteration, renovation, repair, modernization, conversion, improvement, removal, or demolition, or the construction of an additi on to any pre existing owner occupied
44 building containing at least one but not more than four dwelling units, which building or portion thereof is used or designated to be used as a residence or dwelling unit, or to structures which are adjacent to such re sidence or building." By virtue of Massachusetts statutes it appears that HRC's are not allowed. Michigan Review Michigan does not offer a HRC license. However, if a project does not exceed $600.00 or $100.00 for electrical work, it will not require a Resi dential Builders and Maintenance and Alteration Contractor's license. Under Michigan law, an unlicensed contractor cannot bring an action based on breach of contract for nonpayment of that contract. Superior American Homes v. Fry, 343 N. W. 2d 561 (Mich. A pp. 1983). An interesting twist to Superior American Homes is that an unlicensed contractor or tradesmen is not precluded from defending a breach of contract action based on the merits of the case. Parker v. McQuade Plumbing and Heating, Inc., 335 N. W. 2d 7 seven (Mich. App. 1983). Although an unlicensed contractor may defend the case based on the merits, the unlicensed contractor cannot bring a counterclaim for the work performed. Kirkendall v. Heckinger, 269 N.W. 2d 184 (Mich.1978). Minnesota Review Minn esota does not have a HRC license, but the state does offer a certificate of exemption which is required when a person's annual income from more than one skill area is less than $15,000.00. Minnesota refers to the certificate of exemption as the "handyman Exemption". State laws pertaining to construction license might provide a loophole or two for HRC's but local ordinances will likely plug the hole. Specialty and trade contractors such
45 as plumbers and electricians must be licensed but Minn. Stat. Â§Â§ 326.3 7 326.45 excludes the licensing of plumbers when the population of a city is below 5,000. Local licensing ordinances were supported by State ex rel. Cory v. Mun. Court of Minneapolis, 208 N.W. 642 (Minn.1962) in which Minneapolis prevailed in its challeng e to establish local ordinances to license specialty trades including heating, venting air conditioning contractors, plumbers, masonry contractor, demolition contractors, electricians, drywall contractors, and fire sprinklers contractors. Local licensing excludes almost all work otherwise available a HRC contractor. At the state level the exemption applies but local ordinances virtually abolish the state exception. Mississippi Review Mississippi does not offer a HRC license, but Miss. Code Ann. Â§ 73 59 1 5, in pertinent part "...exempts owners of property who supervise, superintend, oversee, direct or on any manner assume charge of the construction, alteration, repair, improvement, movement, demolition, putting up or tearing down maintenance of any buildin g...which will not be for sale, rent, public uses or public assembly." Mississippi statutes do not clearly define the terms supervise, superintend, oversee, direct or on any manner assume charge. Although there is no HRC license, it appears that an owne r could hire an unlicensed HRC when the owner undertakes the duty to supervise, superintend, oversee, direct or on any manner assume charge of the project. This exemption is applicable to single family residences only. In essence, HRC's might be able to wo rk under a homeowner's authority without licensure but the HRC will run the risk of deniability by the owner which would leave the HRC subject to being an unlicensed contractor under Mississippi law. In addition, Mississippi requires a Certificate of Respo nsibility when the contract bid exceeds $100,000.00. A Certificate of
46 Responsibility is issued by the State Board of Contractors. The certificate contains financial information which must be satisfactory to the state to allow the individual to contract for work on single family homes in excess of $100,000.00. Failure to obtain the certificate for work in excess of $100,000.00 voids the contract. Missouri Review Missouri does not off er a HRC license, or contractor 's license for that matter. Missouri delegat es licensing responsibility to its municipalities. If a HRC wants to work in Missouri, he better check local laws. Montana Review Montana does not offer a HRC license. Montana does require registration of building contractors under Title 39 of the Montana Code Annotated. Title 39 was established to level the playing field for contractors, and to assure the public that registered contractors remain in compliance with the states worker's compensation and unemployment insurance coverage. But, work on one proje ct of a minor or inconsequential nature, the aggregate contract price of which is less than $2,500.00 per job, except where work is part of larger or major operation is an exception to Title 39. Even though the exception exists, and a HRC might be able to work below the $2,500.00 radar, but electrical and plumbing work must be performed by a licensed contractor. Nebraska Review Nebraska does not offer a HRC license. Nebraska does not have any specific requirements for building contractors. Like Montana, Neb raska registers contractors. Nebraska defines contractors as all persons arranging the performance of construction. Nebraska exempts contractors that earn less than $5,000.00 per year from construction
47 related activities. As with most other states, Nebrask a issues licenses for plumbing, electrical and HVAC contractors. Because Nebraska only requires registration, a HRC could register as a contractor and hire trade contractors and still be within the law. Nevada Review Nevada does not offer a HRC license. Ge neral contractors, subcontractors, and specialty contractors must be licensed and regulated by the state. Nevada statutes make it illegal to engage in the business of contracting, or submitting a bid, without proper licensing. Contractor licensing requires among other qualifications, passing a written exam. There a re few exceptions, none of which apply to HRCs. It appears that Nevada is not interested in enabling HRCs. New Hampshire Review New Hampshire does not offer a HRC license. In general, New Hampshi re does not regulate construction professionals at the state level. Some individual trades such as electrical and plumbing are licensed by the state and performing work in a licensed category by an unlicensed contractor for a fee is unlawful. The state doe s offer a Hawker and Peddlers license for home improvements such as vinyl siding but not for HRC work. T o acquire a Hawker and Peddler license, the applicant must deposit $5,000.00 with the Secretary of State. Although New Hampshire does not issue a HRC li cense, a person could contract to do HRC work as a contractor. By default, New Hampshire offers an opportunity for HRCs but the ability to do work in the trades will be limited or nonexistent. As previously mentioned, a person intending to do HRC work in N ew Hampshire will also need to investigate local ordinances before beginning any work.
48 New Jersey Review New Jersey offers HRCs an opportunity to work in the state by simply registering annually with the Director of Consumer Affairs in the Department of L aw and Public Safety. The registration is easy to obtain, but failing to submit for registration could subject the violator to provisions of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud act and treble damages. By knowingly violating the act, the violator is guilty of a c rime of the fourth degree. New Jersey defines home improvement as "(t)he remodeling, altering, renovating, repairing, restoring, modernizing, moving, demolishing, or otherwise improving or modifying of the whole or any part of any res idential or nonresiden tial property". HRC contracts may be restricted by New Jersey licensing for plumbing, landscape irrigation and electrical work as those trades must obtain a New Jersey license. New Mexico Review New Mexico does not offer a HRC license. New Mexico does, how ever, offer a Handyman Certificate. A handyman in New Mexico is defined as: (A)n individual who works on one undertaki ng or project at a time which, in the aggregate or singly, does not exc eed seven thousand two hundred dollars ($7,200) compensation a y ear, t he work being casual, minor or inconsequential such as, but not limited to, handyman repairs; provided t hat this exemption shall not apply to any undertaking or project pertaining to the installation, connection o r repair of electrical wiring, plumbi ng or gas fitting as defined in Section 60 13 32 NMSA 1978 and provided: A. The work is not part of a larger or maj or operation undertaken by the same individual or different contractor; B. The individual does not advertise or maintain a sign, card or othe r device which would indicate to the public tha t he is qualified to engage in the business of contracting; and
49 C. The individual files annually with the Division, on a form prescribed by the Division, a declaration substantially to the effect that he is n ot a contractor within the meaning of the Construction Industries Licensing Act, that the work he performs is casual, minor or inconsequential and will not include more than one undertaking or project at one time and that the tota l amount of such contracts in the aggregate or singly, will not exceed seve n thousand two hundred dollars ($7,200) compensation a year. ( I OWA C ODE A NN Â§91C.1.2 (West 2008)) The restrictions imposed by the Handyman Certific ate are easily overlooked by a Certified Handyman enterin g into a con tract to make casual, minor or inconsequential repairs. New Mexico's licensing sta tutes do not allow a Certified Handyman to contract to repair electrical, mechani cal or plumbing defects of any kind. Replacing a light switch or repairing a leak y faucet could subject the Certificate holder to fines equaling 10% of the contract price, or suspension of the certificate, or both. Consequently, some work is allowable as a HRC in New Mexico. New York Review New York does not offer a HRC license. Ne w York does not have a license provision for construction professionals unless engaged in electrical or plumbing work. New York Statutes define Home Improvement Contractors, but there is no licensing requirement for a Home Improvement Contractor. Under New York Law, a Home Improvement Contractor includes persons or entities contracting to do work from minor repairs to new home construction. Rather than establishing a state wide construction statute, New York delegated that duty to its municipalities under a provision called General City Law. The General City Law grants counties, cities and towns the right to pass ordinances pertaining to construction professionals that do not conflict with state law. HRCs, although not licensed by the state, can engage in c ontracting activities as Home Improvement Contractors unless prohibited by local regulations. No investigation was do ne at the local level for any state as the hypothesis is to determine if a State Certified License for CHRC should be established in Florid a.
50 North Carolina Review North Carolina does not offer a HRC license. According to North Carolina law, a contractor is only required to obtain a license when the cost of the job is $30,000.00 or greater. As most HRC work is less than $30,000.00, HRCs sho uld be able to work in North Carolina without a license. HRCs are not exempt from permitting and, when necessary must comply by acquiring all required permits. North Dakota Review North Dakota does not offer a HRC license. All individuals or entities contr acting to do electrical or plumbing work in North Dakota must be licensed. North Dakota allows unlicensed construction activity when the total value of the original contract cost, value or price does not exceed $2,000.00. The State defines contractors as a ny person engaged in the business of construction, repair, alteration, dismantling of, among other things, residential buildings and commercial property. Under North Dakota's code, a HRC would be allowed to enter into a contract when the total cost does no t exceed $2,000.00 and no electrical or plumbing work is involved. Ohio Review Ohio does not offer a state HRC license. Unlike most states, Ohio does not have any statutes directly pertaining to contractor licensing, Ohio redirects that responsibility to its Construction Industry Licensing Board. The Construction Industry Licensing Board licenses an individual as a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning contractor, refrigeration contractor, electrical contractor, plumbing contractor, or hydronics contr actor only. There is no provision for licensing a building contractor, therefore, a HRC's only limitation is that all work requiring a license will be accomplished by a licensed subcontractor. So, a HRC would need to call himself a Contractor and hire all
51 repairs to be accomplished by a licensed trade contractor. By default, Ohio does not offer a HRC license. Oklahoma Review Oklahoma does not offer a HRC license. There is no state license for building contractors in Oklahoma. It is interesting that Oklahom a requires all nonresident contractors to register with the state. A nonresident contractor is a contractor that maintains his principal place of business outside of Oklahoma. Oklahoma does regulate plumbing, mechanical, electrical and welding contractors. Once again, HRC's will likely be allowed to contract to make minor repairs typically associated with handyman work as long as the work does not involve any of the trades previously listed. This appears to be a common theme among states. By offering some s ort of exemption or not requiring a contractor to be licensed at all is still restricted when trade licenses are involved. Oregon Review Oregon does not offer a HRC license. Contractors must obtain a valid Certificate of Regulation issued by the Oregon Con struction Contractors Board. There is an exemption for casual, minor or inconsequential work when the aggregate price of all of that person's contracts for labor, materials and all other items is less than $500.00. This exemption does not apply to a person who advertises or puts out any sign or card or other device that might indicate to the public that the person is a contractor. Under Oregon law, a HRC might be able to advertise as a Handyman but not as a Home Repair Contractor. A HRC could simply obtain a valid Certificate of Regulation and subcontract for trade work when the HRC's contract exceeds $500.00.
52 Pennsylvania Review Pennsylvania does not offer a HRC license. Pennsylvania requires Home Improvement Registration for any building contractor who exc eeds $5,000.00 in annual income. The term Home Improvement includes almost all work in connection with a building which is used or designed to be used as a private residence for which the total cash price of all work agreed upon between the contractor and owner exceeds $500. The Home Improvement Contractor is restricted from performing work of licensed trades but can subcontract work to a licensed trade contractor. In short registration is similar to being licensed as a building contractor in Florida. Rhod e Island Review Rhode Island does not offer a HRC license. In the State of Rhode Island anyone performing work on residential or commercial property must be registered with the Board unless under one or more contracts when the price of all of that person's contracts for labor, materials and all other items is less than $500.00 and the "work is of a casual, minor, or inconsequential nature; and the person does not advertise or put out any sign or card or other device which might indicate to the public that t he person is a contractor. To contract for work exceeding the $500.00 limit, a HRC must be registered and subcontract any work included in the contract for plumbing, electric, and oil heating to licensed contractors in that trade" Once again, not a difficu lt process for someone wanting to start a HRC business. South Carolina Review South Carolina does not offer a HRC license. South Carolina offers a Residential Specialty Registration for some trades without examination such as painting, roofing, drywall ins tallation, carpentry and stucco work but the work is limited to $200.00. If the
53 work in those categories exceeds $200.00 the work must be performed by a licensed contractor. There appears to be no exceptions for a HRC work in excess of $200.00. Becoming a HRC in South Carolina will not be a profitable venture. South Dakota Review South Dakota does not offer a HRC license. Contractors are not regulated in South Dakota. The state generates revenue from contractors and subcontractors by assessing a 2% excise t ax on gross receipts. Licenses are required for plumbers and electricians. Before starting a HRC business in South Dakota it would be advisable to check county and city ordinances as they may invoke additional restrictions on contractors and subsequently H RCs. Tennessee Review Tennessee does not offer a HRC license. Tennessee offers a Home Improvement License which is close to a HRC but a licensed Home Improvement Contractor will not be allowed to replace or repair electrical or plumbing. A Home Improvement Contractor's license is required when the work exceeds $3,000.00 but is less than $25,000.00. Not all cities in Tennessee require a Home Improvement Contractor to be licensed. There is no provision pertaining to work below $3,000.00 but any electrical or plumbing work would need to be done by a licensed electrician or plumber respectively. Texas Review Texas does not offer a HRC license. Texas does not license building contractors. Anyone wanting to work as a contractor in Texas must register with the Tex as Residential Construction Commission. Registered HRCs are allowed to work as a contractor but would not be able to do any electrical or plumbing work. Under Texas
54 law, HRCs are not allowed to make minor electrical or plumbing repairs without subcontracti ng that work to licensed trade contractors. Utah Review Utah offers a Handyman exception. A Handyman is a person engaged in the alteration, repair, remodeling, or addition to or improvement of a building with a contracted or agreed value of less than $3,0 00, including both labor and materials, and including all changes or additions to the contracted or agreed upon work and the work does not include electrical, mechanical or plumbing. Vermont Review Vermont does not offer a HRC license. Vermont does not lic ense building contractors. HRCs can work without price restriction but if the scope of work includes electrical and plumbing work, that work must be subcontracted to a licensed trade contractor. Virginia Review Virginia offers a Home Improvement Contractor license. A Virginia "Home Improvement Contractor" (HIC) means that service which provides for repairs or improvements to one family and two family residential buildings or structures annexed to real property. The HIC specialty does not provide for electri cal, plumbing, HVAC, or gas fitting functions. It does not include high rise buildings, buildings with more than two dwelling units, or new construction functions beyond the existing building structure other than decks, patios, driveways and utility out b uildings. Home Improvement Contractors must take an eight hour course to obtain a license. A Home Improvement Contractor License is a Virginia Class "C" license which means that Home Improvement Contractor can work on single projects between $1,000.00 and $7,500.00.
55 The aggregate value of all contracts during a year cannot total more than $150,000.00. No license is required for work below $1,000.00. Most home repairs are usually below $7,500.00 but once again, like many other states, Virginia limits work a HRC can legally do even if he /she is a HIC, but like other states, there appears to be no restriction on subcontracting to licensed trade contractors. Washington Review Washington offers a HRC/Handyman license. In Washington, a HRC/Handyman is a specialty contractor that must be an individual who does all work personally without employees or other specialty contractors. A handyman may perform several specialty trades provided they do all work themselves. The work is limited to minor and casual work of exis ting residential maintenance and repair. The total dollar value of time and materials must be under two thousand dollars. A HRC/Handyman cannot do work requiring a building permit. In order to contract for electrical or plumbing work, the HRC/Handyman will need to be certified as an electrician and as a plumber. West Virginia Review West Virginia does not offer a HRC license. West Virginia requires contractors to be licensed if a project exceeds $2,500.00 in material and labor. If the project is less than $ 2,500.00 an individual contracting to do the work must register with the state and obtain a business license. Even if the total contract price is below $2,500.00, the individual will be unlicensed when making minor electrical or plumbing repairs. Wisconsin Review Wisconsin does not offer a HRC license. Prior to 2013, contractors only needed to provide the state with proof of workers compensation insurance, liability insurance and a bond to be registered as a contractor. In 2013, the state repealed the regis tration
56 statute which enabled anyone to become a building contractor without state intervention. Wisconsin did not eliminate the licensing statute for electricians or plumbers. Even though Wisconsin does not have any licensing provisions for contractors, a HRC will need to hire a licensed electrician and plumber if need be. This appears to be a common practice among several states to limit HRC's activities. Wyoming Review Wyoming does not offer a HRC license. Wyoming does not license or register contractors The state only licenses electricians. A HRC can make all repairs including plumbing and not be convicted of unlicensed activity. Unlike most states, a Wyoming plaintiff that brings a construction defect claim may sue for breach of contract, or in tort fo r negligence, or both. See Cline v. Sawyer, 600 P.2d 725, 732 (Wyo. 1979). Tort claims compared to breach of contract claims may raise statute of limitations issues, causation of injuries, and allocation of damages not available under a breach of contract claim. Summary o f State By State Licensing of HRCs Reviewing state statutes, responses from construction licensing agencies and direct communications with state licensing officials, one thing is perfectly clear; licensing of Home Repair Contractors varies significantly from state to state. While some states specifically disallow HRC's from engaging in home repairs, other states do not regulate HRCs at all Some states register HRCs and some offer HRC licenses by default. Licensing by default means that HRC type work is within the applicable license. Most states that offer either registration or licensing restrict HRCs from performing plumbing, electrical, mechanical or other trade related activities. No state requires testing solely for a HRC license. In the states that mandate testing prior to issuing a license, the license
57 typically permits a gr eater scope of work than what HRC s are typically hired to do at any time. A few states do not license or register contractors but even most of the non regulatory sta tes li cense trades thereby limiting what HRC s can do Some states set maximum monetary limits on what a HRC can do per contract or per year. O ne state in particular limits HRCs from ex ecuting contracts in excess of an aggregate of $500.00 per year. Because of the minimal maximum annual dollar cap it will be unlikely that a HRC could survive in that state. In the states that allow some sort of HRC work, the work is usually limited to casual, minor, or that of an inconsequential nature. Another restriction im posed on HRCs may include limiting any form of advertising, including but not limited to signs on vehicles, business cards, preprinted contracts, TV, Newspaper, radio or door to door sales. A state by state summary of licensing, required contract provision s, prohibited acts maximum contract per job and the maximum a HRC can earn per year can be found in Appendix D. The first column indicates the states licensing requirements. An "L" in column 1 means that the state licenses contractors, but the license may include scope beyond that of a HRC, but a HRC can obtain a license and contract for HRC work. "No" in column 1 means that there is either no licensing available in that state or that the state does not license contractors at all. Reviewing this column al ong with column 4, will quickly illustrate whether the state allows HRCs or not. If column 1 lists "No" and column 4 indicates any dollar amount above zero, HRCs will be allowed to work in that state.
58 If a "No" appears in column 1 and column 4 shows 0/0 th e state does not allow HRCs. When the word "none" appears in column 4, there is no dollar limit. An "R" in column 1 points out that all a HRC needs to do is register with the state. Column 3 and 4 must also be observed to determine some restriction on HR C contracts. A "C" in column one is similar to a license but that states calls the regulation authorizing a HRC to enter into a contract a certificate rather than a license. Columns 2, 3 and 4 must be analyzed to understand the limits of a HRC in that stat e. Column 2 simply indicates if there are terms that must be added to a HRCs contract. Column 3 is critical because, as previously mentioned, most states do not allow HRCs to contract for mechanical (M), electrical (E), Plumbing (P), or MEP and any other s pecialty trade (All). Column 4 illustrates the maximum a HRC can earn per job and the maximum income HRC's can legally per year. For exampl e "$500/ $10,000" means that a HRC contract per job cannot exceed $500 per job and his total income from aggregate wo rk cannot exceed $10,000 annually. A "0/0" in column 4 is a clear indicator that the associated state is not interested in any form of HRCs. If "none/none" appears in column 4, there are no limits per contract or maximum annual earnings. Appendix D quic kly summarizes the country's acceptance, or lack thereof, for Home Repair Contractors. Currently only 5 states have some provision allowing HRCs to contract for minor trade work. It is important to point out that even states that seem to be HRC friendly ma y have delegated licensing issues to counties and or cities within the state. In short, making a living as a HRC in the US is difficult. Next Chapter 4 will acquaint the reader with unlicensed construction activity in Florida
59 CHAPTER 4 UNLICENSED ACTIV ITY IN FLORIDA According to the Florida Department of Building and Professional Regulations (DBPR), unlicensed activity occurs when someone offers to perform, or performs, services that require a state license and the person does not hold the required lice nse. As previously discussed, DBPR derives its authority per Florida Statute and regulates, monitors, licenses and penalizes Florida contractors who violate construction industry statutes and rules. DBPR is also charged with the responsibility to enforce S tate Statutes for unlicensed activity thought the State. Unlicensed activity may also involve licensed contractors working beyond their licensing capabilities. For instance, a plumbing contractor cannot engage in electrical work unless he /she also poses an electrical license issued by the State. As discussed in Chapter 3 classes of contractors and associated licenses range from specialty contractors to general contractors and all the trades in between. Because there is no Florida license for HRCs, HRCs of ten perform unlicensed work. In an effort to enforce Florida law, DBPR organizes sweeps and sting operations to try to control unlicensed contractors state wide. Sweeps are performed by canvassing construction job sites and asking individuals on the site t o produce their licenses. The sweeps are relatively successful. In 2010, DBPR investigators swept 23 sites, checked 70 licenses and issued six citations for unlicensed electrical contracting and 13 citations for unlicensed general contracting. What was un expected about this statistic is that nearly 18% of the individuals on the job sites were unlicensed in one way or another. Even more perplexing is that the numbers indicate that as much as 83% of the job sites investigated may involve unlicensed activity. The only other reasonable explanation is
60 that when unlicensed general contracting was involved, multiple violations were discovered. There is no question that unlicensed activity goes well beyond HRCs. During a sweep, DBPR may issue the offending party a Cease and Desist order, a Citation, or both. Sweeps are an effective way to discover unlicensed activity because DBPR does not incur the expense of a sting operation. Another advantage of a sweep is that investigators actually observe the unlicensed activ ity while it is in progress. The individuals are not contacted ahead of time and asked for estimates or bids, they are already under a written, or verbal, contract to perform some regulated construction activity. Sting operations almost always net the unsu specting unlicensed HRC along with licensed contractors working outside of their registered or certified licensing capacity. Unfortunately for a licensed contractor working beyond the scope of their license they are still subject to the same penalties as a HRC that has no license at all. DBPR's sting operations are usually carri ed out in cooperation with C ounty law enforcement and / or the States Attorney's office in the circuit where the sting operation takes place. For example, if DBPR conducts a sting in G ainesville, Florida, the Alachua County Sheriff's office and State Attorneys from the 8th judicial circuit may accompany DBPR during the sting. The coordinated effort usually necessitates months of planning by all departments involved, locating a decoy hom e in need of repairs for both work that must be done by licensed contractors and work not requiring a license. DBPR investigators contact unsuspecting individuals and invite them to bid on the repairs. If the individual offers to perform work, and is not l icensed for the work he /she bids on, he /she is arrested on the
61 spot. Depending on the circumstances, the individual may be, fined, prosecuted and /or incarcerated for the offense. The line between permitted and unpermitted work is not as clear as one might believe. For example, permits must be pulled to install a dishwasher or a water heater and therefore must be done by a licensed plumber, but installing a water filter on a faucet can be done by an unlicensed individual. Likewise, a licensed HVAC contracto r must be employed to clean A/C ducts if any part of the system is disassembled during the process, but if no disassembly is necessary, the work can be done without a permit or a license. It is important to point out that removing a return grill constitute s disassembly and therefore a licensed A/C contractor must pull a permit and do the work. HRCs and other unlicensed contractors in Florida are extremely limited by what is allowed and what is not. However, poorly conducted sting operations can backfire wh en the unsuspecting contractor fails to take the bait offered by DBPR and DBPR and the state attorney attempt to prosecute the individual anyway. Mr. Dupont was a HRC, advertising to perform roof, concrete and acoustic ceiling cleaning and painting. DBPR a nd the Volusia County State s Attorney attempted to lure Mr. Dupont into "Operation Handyman", a sting operation designed to arrest unlicensed contractors. Operation Handyman involved both work requiring permits and work that fell sh ort of the need for a p ermit. Mr Dupont was contacted to bid on the work but Mr. Dupont declined the invitation. Nevertheless, the state attorney swore out an arrest affidavit that resulted in Dupont's forcible surprise arrest and prosecution under the unlicensed contractor sta tute; Fla. Statute 489.127 (2)(a). During one court proceeding, Mr. Dupont was
62 arrested and handcuffed again because the original arrest warrant had remained active. After the trial court acquitted Dupont of the charges, he then filed a federal civil right s lawsuit against the State. Mr. Dupont's case appears to be an exception to the norm. Most sting operations are conducted in such a way as to provide a positive result for the State and its citizens. Unlicensed work is more likely to be defective than per mitted work by a licensed contractor. Mike Owen Chaffer d/b/a/ All American Anchoring & Remodeling, replaced acrylic windows in a North Port, Flo rida home and received $3,000 for his services. In addition, Chaffer advertised to remodel kitchens and baths, install insulated siding, and hurricane resistant roofs. Chaffer is not a licensed contractor and had been previously cited by DBPR for unlicensed activity. Chaffer was adjudicated guilty of a felony in the third degree. In spite of the severity of the co nviction and possible imprisonment, Chaffer was given probation and ordered to repay the individuals he contracted with. Joshua Ryan Green illegally and without a proper license perform ed contracted work for a property owner and he was arrested and charged $79,000 in restitution to the owner for the repairs. He was also issued a Cease and Desist Order and is now incarcerated. John Evans worked for numerous senior citizens. He accepted money for roof repairs and performed no work. He also worked for a licen sed contractor, wrote contracts under Evans business name while working for the contractor, and he had payments from the contractor's customers made directly to himself. Evans was arrested, charged with Exploitation of the Elderly, Grand Theft, and Unlicen sed Contracting.
63 Evans has not been convicted yet but there is a high probability that he will serve some time in jail If convicted of crimes against the elderly Evans criminal conviction can range from a first degree felony to a third degree felony and a civil action may also be filed against Evens for disgorgement. Unlicensed contracting happens every day. A HRC offering to do work allowed under Florida Statutes can easily be led astray by an innocent homeowner while the HRC is engag ed in work allowed b y Statute. For instance, while the HRC is working for a homeowner, the homeowner asks the HRC if he can repair a leaky faucet. Not wanting to disappoint his customer, and realizing that while he is at the house he can make a little extra cash, h e does the work. The customer is very satisfied and pays the HRC and even recommends him to a friend. This simple act is a violation of several Florida Laws. In order to repair that plumbing fixture under the law, the HRC e and must also have Worker's Compensation and Liability insurance. The usual scenario is that the HRC is the only employee of the company and either does not know or decides to run the risk of not having Worker's Compensation insurance. After all, t he HRC may be the only employee and Florida allows up to three corporate officers who are shareholder of the corporation to elect to be exempt from W/C coverage. Florida contractors must also maintai n minimum liability insurance. But the violations do no t stop there. The HRC has probably lost his contractual rights, if he /she had not been paid his lien rights would evaporate, he /she may have opened the door for treble damages, subjected him /her self to the wrath of the building department for code violations, and DBPR for administrative sanctions, there could be
64 criminal penalties, disgorgement and unfair and deceptive trade practices among other issues arising from this simple repair What if the HRC replaced a front door, three electric outlets, replaced a ceil ing fan and two light fixtures, repaired a broken window, removed, replaced a pedestal sink, replaced two damaged sheets of drywall, removed a supply vent to extract a dead lizard above the vent, installed insulation in the attic and charged a fee of $5,00 0 which the customer agreed was reasonable. A recent Florida Supreme Court decision found that an unlicensed contractor could not enforce its contract for unlicensed work. In Earth Trades, Inc. et al v. T & G Corporation 108 So.3rd 580 (Fla. 2013) the ge neral contractor, T & G Corporation (T&G), entered into a subcontract with Earth Trades, Inc. (ET) to perform site work on a parking garage project. At all times relevant, ET was not licensed under Florida law to perform the work specified in the subcontra ct. A dispute arose between T&G and ET and ET filed a breach of contract action against T&G for no npayment f or the completed work. T&G counter sued and brought an action against ET and a third party complaint against ET's surety for breach of contract. T &G argued that ET was unlicensed and therefore ET's claim against T&G was barred by the plain language of section 489.128, Florida Statutes (2005). ET and its surety countered claiming that T&G was barred from enforcing the contract because T&G and RT were in pari delicto In pari delicto is a descriptive phrase that indicates that the parties involved in an action are equally culpable for the wrong. When the parties to a legal controversy are in pari delicto neither can obtain affirmative relief from the court, since both are equally at fault or of equal guilt. In short, t hey will remain in the same situation they were in prior to
65 the commencement of the action. The Court simply treats the parties the same way a parent might discipline two children fighti ng over a toy. ET claimed that T&G could not bring a breach of contract action because T&G was equally at fault, as T&G knew that ET was unlicensed pursuant to Florida Statute 489 w hen the contract was executed. The trial court granted T&G's motion for su mmary judgment and dismissed ET's counterclaim against T&G. A bench trial was held to determine the outcome of T&G's action against ET. In its final judgment against ET the Court cited section 489.128 making any construction contract unenforceable in law o r equity by an unlicensed contractor who was a party to it. "The court reasoned that the Legislature intended to solve the considerable problem of unlicensed contractors by precluding them from any affirmative relief or defenses to relief until they obeyed the law and obtained licenses. Accordingly, the trial court held that the common law defense of in pari delicto was unavailable under the amended statute." ET appealed the case to Fifth District Court of Appeals. The district court affirmed the trial cou rt's conclusion that the statute precluded Earth Trades from raising the in pari delicto unambiguous language of section 489.128, as amended in 2003". ET appealed the 5th DCA's fi nding and the case was heard by the Florida Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that even if T&G knew that ET was unlicensed, the wrongdoing required by the rule of in pari delicto was not applicable and that the changes to Florida Statute clarified an ambiguity in the statute. The Supreme Court reviewed the statute prior to and subsequent to the revisions. The stricken section of the
66 applicable portion of Florida Statute 489.128 is the inapplicable portion after legislative revision. The Court in years past interpreted the law dif ferently. The amended Section 489 states the following : "As a matter of public policy, contracts entered into on or after October 1, 1990, and performed in full or in part by an unlicensed any contractor who fails to obtain or maintain a license in accordance with this part shall be unenforceable in law or in equity by the unlicensed contractor ." The Supreme Court reasoned that the legislators change to the statute established a clear and unambiguous message that contracts ent ered into by unlicensed contractors are unenforceable in law or in equity. So, in the case of the HRC that satisfied his customer and was paid $5,000 for the work, the homeowner could claim that the contract was unenforceable and try to get the HRC to refu nd the $5 ,000 The HRC would try to defend that request for refund based on quantum meruit and accord and satisfaction, but if the contract was unenforceable at law or in equity would the HRC win? Until the Supreme Court hears that argument we may never kn ow. For now, the legislator and the Supreme Court have made it quite apparent that unlicensed contractors will have a difficult time winning a case involving unlicensed activity in court. The Jim Walter exclusion might provide a little relief if the HRC i s working for a registered or certified contractor on a permitted job, but even specialty work covered by the "Jim Walter Exception" will be considered unlicensed work when a general contractor is not involved. The Jim Walter exclusion allows unlicensed sp ecialty
67 Florida Statute 489 is only one of several Florida statut es that restrict, penalize and attempt to control unlicensed activity including, among others, HRCs. The late st Florida Supreme Court ruling in Earth Trades, Inc. v. T & G Corporation illustrated the necessity for work to be performed by licensed contractors or suffer the consequences of Florida Statute Â§489.128. F.S. Â§ 489.128 need not stand on its own when it comes to unlicensed contracting. Florida Statute Â§489.13 defines an unlicensed contractor as Any person performing an activity requiring licensure under this part as a construction contractor is guilty of unlicensed contracting if he or she does not hol d a valid active certificate or registration authorizing him or her to perform such activity, regardless of whether he or she holds a local construction contractor license or local certificate of competency. Persons working outside the geographical scope o f their registration are guilty of unlicensed activity for purposes of this part." Remembering Mr. Evans, our HRC doing acceptable work for his customer, well, he is also guilty of violating F.S. Â§489.13. More importantly, if Mr. Evans had previously been found guilty of working for any of the other people he contracted with he could be s ubject to fines up to $10,000 .00 and jail time for committing a third degree felony. Carried to the extreme, unlicensed activity, according to current state law could resu lt in substantial damage claims and criminal penalties. In State v. Cook 905 So.2d 1013 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005), Mr. Cook had previously been found guilty of unlicensed activity. The first conviction was for unlicensed activity for residential contracting. In the instant case, Mr. Cook was being charged with unlicensed work as a plumbing and roofing contractor. The trial court found section
68 489.127(2)(b) to be ambiguous and therefore applied the rule of lenity, it found tha t counts three and five of the States Complaint could not stand as felonies because Mr. Cook's prior no contest plea was not for the exact same offenses of unlicensed roofing contracting and unlicensed plumbing contracting. The State appealed the lower cou rt's decision contending that the language in section 489.127(2)(b) is clear and unambiguous. Therefore, the State charged the present counts of unlicensed contracting as felonies because of Mr. Cook's prior unlicensed contractor offense under F.S. Â§489.127(2)(b) The Appellate Court determined that even though Contractors, pursuant to Florida Statute 489, are subdivided into two divisions, Division I, consisting of those contractors defined in paragraphs (a) (c) which i Division II, consisting of those contractors defined in paragraphs (d) (q) which includes "Roofing contractors" and "Plumbing contractors Mr. Cook was in violation of F.S. Â§489 Because all three violations were viola tions of the broader definition of contractor under which the State proceeded against Mr. Cook, the distinction between Florida Statute Â§489 Division I, and Division II, make no distinction among contractors categories defined in either Division. ( D efiniti on of "contractor") Here, the State charged the present counts of unlicensed contracting as felonies because of Mr. Cook's prior unlicensed contractor offenses. The Appellate court determined that the trial court reasoned that Mr. Cook was not guilty of a felony as each of the offenses were for different unlicensed activity. The Appellate Court determined that the statute was clear on its face and that the statute was not ambiguous. The Appella t e C ourt overruled the lower C ourt's decision
69 and held that Mr. Cook's prior unlicensed conviction when added to the current allegations were sufficient to warrant a felony conviction. The case was remanded to the lower Court for further proceedings. A third degree felony is subject to a term of impri s o nment not to ex ceed five years. So, at this point Mr. Evans, who was apparently qualified to do the work, but was unlicensed, cannot enforce his contract and is subject to u p five years in prison if he is found guilty of previously performing at least two other unlicense d contract acts. But we are not done with Mr. Evans yet. Let u s for a minute assume that Mr. Evans is a registered contractor in Alachua County. One of his repeat customers lives just south of Alachua County in Marion County. Florida Statute 489.13(1) sta tes that Any person performing an activity requiring licensure under this part as a construction contractor is guilty of unlicensed contracting if he or she does not hold a valid active certificate or registration authorizing him or her to perform such ac tivity, regardless of whether he or she holds a local construction contractor license or local certificate of competency. Persons working outside the geographical scope of their registration are guilty of unlicensed activity for purposes of this part." Mr. Evans has just stepped over the line of illegality. His contract is void and he could be on his way to the first of three convictions necessary to find him guilty of a third degree felony. In this case, even though he was licensed to do the type of work he did in Marion County, in the eyes of DBPR, he is an unlicensed contractor. Mr. Evans might have been able to avoid this unfortunate situation by taking advantage of the states grandfathering statute that allows registered contractor s to become state cer tified. This option has been extended by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, but the option
70 will expire on November 15, 2015. The CLIB's offer to convert registered contractors to certified contractors is by no means gratuitous. DBPR and the CILB do not have jurisdiction over registered contractor unless the county that issued the registration fails to maintain its own codes enforcement board. DBPR and CLIB maintain jurisdiction over all certified contractors. The registration to certification proces s does not require any additional state testing. That said, most contractors would rather be certified than registered if for no other reason than to be legally allowed to work in any county in the state. Who knows, it might even cut down on unlicensed act ivity and allow a qualified contractor in one county to work in any other county in the state. What happens to Mr. Evans for his first violation? Because Mr. Evans could not legally pull a building permit, he is also in violation of Florida Statute 489.12 7(2)(h) by commencing or perform work for which a building permit is req uired pursuant to part IV of C hapter 553 Florida Statutes. Mr. Evans would like ly be fined a minimum of $500 in accordance with Florida Statute 775.083. Mr. Evans could also be hit wit h administrative sanctions under Florid a Statutes Â§Â§ 455.228 and 489.13 which could incorporate such actions as an issuance of a cease and desist notice, civil penalties, enforcement, citations, and allocation of moneys collected. But we are still not done with Mr. Evans. If an action is brought against Mr. Evans by his customer for injuries resulting from his negligence, malfeasance or misfeasance, the customer might be entitled to treble damages and attorney fees. Realizing that that he might not be able to collect on a contract for work properly performed but unlicensed, Mr. Evans decided to file a lien as a last resort to get paid. He was in privity of contract with the owner of the property; therefore, he did not need to
71 file a Notice to Owner. His work was in excess of $2,500 and the last day he worked on the job was forty five days before filing the lien. His v erbal contract was for $2,600 He completed all of the work and filed a lien for $2,600 The customer, being the shrewd business man that he was contested the lien reducing the length of time for Mr. Evans had to file suit to foreclose the lien. Mr. Evans did not timely reply and the customer filed suit for clouding his title and for removal of the lien. The customer had just applied for a loan w ith a favorable interest rate, but the loan was denied because of the lien. The court first determined the validity of the lien claim and also the applicability of damages if the lien was found to be invalid. The customer contended that the damages for no t being able to close the loan at 3% totaled $81,956.67. The c ustomer produced evidence in support of his claim showing that the principal bal ance of the loan was $200,000 and at 3%, the monthly rate based on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, would be $843.21 per month. Over the 30 year loan the bank would earn $103,554.90 in interest. During the time it took to clear the lien and settle the case, the interest rate went up to 5% for a 30 year fixed rate loan. The monthly payment for a 5% fixed rate loan with t he same principal balance is $ 1,073.64. The bank would earn $186,511.57 over the life of the new loan or a difference of $81 ,956.67 in actual damages. These are significant damages for such a minor repair. The C ourt reasoned that because time had expired for the customer's loan commitment before the statutory lien time, and before the contest of lien ha d expired, the customer was entitled to damages in the amount of $81,956.67. The Court also determined that the pursuant to Florida Statute Â§713.02 the un licensed contractor had no lien rights. However, Florida Statute 713.29 provides that the prevailing party in a
72 lien claim be awarded attorney fees and costs. The attorney fees in this case totaled $10,000.00. The Court issued final judgment against Mr. Ev ans in the amount of $91,956.67 plus court cost and interest at the prevailing rate set by the Court. Remember, Mr. Evans v erbal contract was for $2,600 00 Customer v. Evans is an illustration of how unexpected consequences of a lien claim combined with o ther Florida statutes can backfire when the lien is found to be invalid and the contractor is unlicensed. There is no question that a HRC performing unlicensed work can unintentionally plunge into turbulent waters. Most HRC's tend to run under DBPR's radar as much as possible and are usually small, unlicensed, unincorporated home based businesses. Unincorporated businesses can subject the owner to personal liability subject the HRC owner's assets to forced sales to satisfy personal judgments. Suppose for a minute that Mr. Evans owned his home, two cars and a boat. Although under Florida law, his home and one of the cars might be protected from creditors, the remaining assets, including any savings accounts and other assets could be confiscated and auctioned off to partially satisfy the judgment. So, for a small home repair, most HRCs and Mr. Evans are probably completely unaware of the possible consequences of entering into a contract to perform unlicensed work. The lifelong impact of Mr. Evans' unlicensed a ctivity can have a devastating monetary and emotional effect on Mr. Evans and his family. It is also important to point out that the Customer may not completely avoid DBPR and the courts crosshairs. Pursuant to Florida Statute 455.228(1) DBPR may issue a n otice to cease and desist a nd impose a fine up to $5,000 for knowingly hiring
73 an unlicensed contractor (Earth Trades ). Of course, in Customer v. Evans, DBPR will need to prove that Customer knew that Customer had knowledge of Evans unlicensed activity prio r to paying him. For the most part DBPR is more interested in perusing unlicensed contractors rather than the homeowner that hires them. The burden of proof is much less difficult to support when a person is unlicensed than it is to prove what knowledge a person posses ses Additionally, DBPR sweeps have a greater impact on unlicensed contractors than sweeps do on homeowners. But even with the sweeps there seems to be an endless supply of HRCs out there. Perhaps the abundance of HRCs is a direct result of th e demand. Homeowners may find themselves in need of repair services that cross multiple licenses. In order to stay within Florida law, a homeowner that needs A/C ducts cleaned, a replacement ceiling fan installed, a bath faucet repaired and a drywall repa ir on a load bearing wall will need to hire four separate licensed contractors ( Chapter 3 and Appendix E ) HRCs may have the knowledge and experience to make all four repairs with one scheduled repair time, but Florida law prevents HRCs from doing so unles s properly licensed Next, C hapter 5 will provide the methodology used to develop three separate surveys to assist the researcher to prove, or disprove, the hypothesis to determine if Florida should implement a certified home repair contractor's license u nder Florida statute 489
74 CHAPTER 5 METHODOLOGY T he purpose of this study is to determine the need and impact of creating a category for licensing a handyman or CHRC by the state of Florida. The study concentrated on three specific Group s impacted by t he possibility of creating such a license Group I consisted of contractors and a variety of subcontractors (Hereafter ), Group II included several types of building inspectors (Hereaft The results were tabulated based solel y on the responses received from each G roup. No addi tional weight was given to one G roup over the ot her. After the Groups were identified it was necessary to; Identify the sources of data. Develop questionn aires pertinent to each target G roup. Develop common question applicable to each Group Review Florida case law and statutes pertaining to unlicensed activity. Prepare internet questionnaires to reach the largest targeted audience. Design the process to provide maximum information at minimal cost. Review c urrent Florida and other State Statutes pertaining to unlicensed activity and CHRC licensing. Analyze the data to assist in determining the value of the information collected. In order to assure the accuracy of the surveys arrangements were made with The Florida Survey Resea rch Center, a division of the University of Florida (Hereafter
75 Mail Survey Procedures The Florida Survey Research Center makes substantial efforts to improve response rates and reduce error from non response s when conducting internet and direct mail surveys. Non response error may result in a bias because those individuals who either refuse to participate or cannot be reached to participate may be systematically different from those individuals who do comple te the survey. efforts to improve response rates and reduce non response rates include the following: Preparation of a packet containing a cover letter, the questionnaire (including detailed instructions explaining how to answer and return the que stionnaire), and a postage paid envelope to return the survey; Mailing the survey packet in a business envelope rather than a flat mail out (to Mailing the survey packet in a smaller business envelope t o make the survey packet appear less burdensome (suggesting less of a time commitment on the part of the respondent); Using an outer mailing envelope that appears professional and is legitimized by official University of Florida logos, avoiding gimmicks su ch as envelopes in unusual shapes, sizes, and colors that may discourage respondent participation; Every mail survey is accompanied by a cover letter which serves as a precise, one page introduction to the questionnaire and is legitimized by the use of off icial University of Florida letterhead and Institutional Review Board information and approval, and personalized with individualized salutations, dates, and signatures; The questionnaire is designed to be clear, concise, and esthetically pleasing to encour age respondent participation and is constructed as a four page booklet, a design proven promote higher response rates; The questionnaire is organized using different sections to separate topics in an attractive and logical order. Detailed instructions are provided. Questions are adequately spaced, rather than overcrowded, with plenty of white space in between. Simple fonts are used rather than decorative lettering, and the layout and styling format remain cohesive throughout the entire questionnaire. Al l questions, and pages, are clearly numbered. Questions are ordered in a logical
76 manner within groupings of similar topics. Transition statements and visual cues signal a change in topic both verbally and visually. Pretest FSRC incorporates pretesting to identify any problems with questionnaire design, including question wording, transitions between sections of the survey, and cla rity of language and concepts. Following initial construction of the survey instrument, FSRC researchers critically read each o f the questions and revise as needed. After this first round of revisions, the questionnaire s were shared with the colleagues, other appropriate audiences and the researcher This feedback was used to determine how long the questionnaire would take respon dents to complete, as well as the clarity of the questionnaire. Pretesting was also used to identify any problems with questionnaire design, including question wording, transitions between sections of the survey, and clarity of language and concepts. Foll owing construction and approval of the survey instrument, the survey was coded and loaded into the FSRC Internet Survey system. The FSRC pretesting process beg an by repeated testing of the programming language to insure that the questionnaire s were workin g properly and that all responses were properly coded. After the program was completely tested and fou nd to be operating soundly, FSRC conduct ed a pretest of the survey instrument with respondents from a sample group. Revisions were made as needed, and i mplementation beg an Internet Survey Procedures efforts to improve response rates and reduce non response include d the following: Thoughtful preparation of the introductory email statement including the potential value of the survey; the importance and experiences; IRB approved informed consent information; and,
77 characteristics that reassure respondents of FSRC legitimacy and clearly and logos, FSRC contact information, transmission from a valid UF email address, direct link to survey with a URL that verifies the FSRC as the sponsoring organization, etc.); Introducing the questionnaire with an introductory statement on the welcome scre en that emphasizes ease of responding and provides clear instructions on how to take necessary computer actions to complete the questionnaire; Providing a unique user name and password for each potential respondent that limits access to only those in the s ample and restricts completion to one survey per user; Providing an embedded direct link so that the recipient can simply click on the URL and be taken to the survey page; Presenting questions in a conventional format similar to paper surveys using a desig n (question wording, question order, question grouping, etc.) that promotes participation and full response to all questions; Allowing respondents the option to stop the survey, save their responses, and return to complete it at a later time; Sending an em ail reminder about a week after the initial email to those in the sample who have not completed the survey. Implementation The first step of the implementation process is loading the final version of the survey instrument into th e FSRC Internet Survey syst em. The system helps prevent errors as it prompts the respondent to answer questions based on built in skip patterns and eliminates out of range responses. This supports extremely complicated questioning patterns, branching, and multiple survey designs for the same project. Data are automatically and instantaneously recorded into an ASCII database as the surveys are finished. Contact emails are sent to all potential respondents. The email explains the research initiative, provides an institutional Review IRB ) approved
78 informed consent form and includes an individualized user name and password to allow respondents to log in to the FSRC Internet System to complete the survey. Three separate surveys were co nducted to acquire information to determine if Florida should implement a Certified Home Repair C ontractor's license under F lorida statute 489 The surveys were designed and distributed by the Florida Research Survey Center which maintained the chain of custody for all surveys at all ti mes The questions were specifically tailored to each Group, but with the central theme of understanding the role that unlicensed contractors have in Florida, and whether Florida should establish a CHRC license. Where possible, the surveys were sent direc tly to the targeted Group by email with Homeowners being the exception. Group I Survey Group I sent to Division 1 Florida cont ractors and Trade Contractors. Division 1 Contractors include Certifi ed General Contractors, Certified Building Contractors, Certified Residential Contractors and Certified Trade Contractors included Plumbers, Electricians, Mechanical Contractors and others. DBPR provided a complete list of current email addresses of Certi fied Licensed Contractors and Trade Contractors. The list was narrowed by eliminating Certified Contractors with delinquent or inactive licenses. Once narrowed, the survey was sent to 3 428 Certified Licensed Contractors or Subcontractors Although the res ponses are still coming in, the survey was concluded when 465 surveys were returned. The C ontractor and Homeowner surveys were similarly designed with a few additional questions and alterations. It was anticipated that the contractors would have a slightly different motivation in answering the question s so
79 it was particularly important to provide room for the open ended responses. Ultimately, the se responses were also reduced to yes, no and no response answers. One important consideration in this category was the economic impact licensed HRCs would have on Certified Contractors. A two headed approach was taken here to determine if Certified Contractors would take advantage of a CHRC or if the Certified Contractors would reject the concept fearing that the Certified Contractors would intrude on their territory and income. Several questions in this survey were directed toward the use of CHRCs to generate additional income for the Certified Contractors. In other words, would Certified Contractors and C ertified Trade Contractors sub contract some of their work to CHRCs and if so, would that increase or decrease the Certified Contractor and Tra d e Contractor's profitability. A copy of this survey is attached as Appendix B Group II Survey Group II other building inspectors, was distributed to a large group thanks in part to DBPR a ssistance in providing email address es for all licensed Building Officials and DBPR Inspectors. This sample also included local building officials across the state as they work in conjunction with DBPR. No differentiation was made between answers from DBPR or building officials. Questions for both DBPR and Building Officials centered on unlicensed activ i t i es and Flor ida Statutes but also include d questions pertaining to this G The survey was then sent to DBPR and Building Officials T he survey was sent to 3,166 Building Officials 503 DBPR and Building Officials responded to the su rvey. attached as Appendix B
80 DBPR and Building Officials were directed to specific case law, and statutes pertaining to unlicensed activity and asked to respond to the impact unlicensed h andymen have on the community and the state. Their responses, like those of Group I were converted into es o answers, scaled from 1 to 5 o opinion categories Group III Survey It was anticipated that Group III Homeowners and Property Owners Pros an would result in a finding that homeowners and property owners would benefit from hiring a licensed handyman. A copy of the survey is attached in Appendix B The Homeowner survey consisted of both open ended an d es and o questions. Three Thousand surveys were sent from a computeriz ed list of randomly chosen homeowners via regular mail in various cities across the state.. Two hundred and four surveys were returned when the survey time expired. Because of t he cost of a direct mail survey, the decision was made to cap the survey at 3 000 randomly selected Homeowners who have owned their property for more than five years. The H omeo wners survey was designed to assist in discovering the need for a handyman as we ll as the preference for or against licensing handymen in Florida The open ended answers were converted to es o o response answers. Some of the survey questions also contained questions with a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being "stro ngly disagree" and 5 being "strongly agree." Other Surveys To fully understand how other states reacted to the Licensed Handyman concept, phone calls and emails were sent to offices of each state's equivalent to either Florida's
81 Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR) or Construction Industry Licensing Board (CLIB). A standardized letter was created and sent to each state. If the state did not respond, a review of the non responding state was conducted to better understand that state's li ce nsing policy for Handymen. The standardized letter and summary of responses are attached as Appendix C and D respectively A list of email contacts by state is attached as Appendix D. Sample Size All sample sizes were based on a 95% confidence level wit h a margin of error probability that the results observed are not explained by the sample size alone. All surv eys were concluded on March 15, 2014 The Department of Business and Professional Regulations provide a list of 32,725 C ontractors and Subcontractors in Florida (Group I). The list was first randomized using EXCEL, and the first 3 500 were chosen for the survey. The Group I s urvey ended with 465 responses. The margin o f error based on the population and sample size is 4.23 which falls within acceptable limits. The Department of Business and Professional Regulations provide a list of Building Officials in Florida (Group II). All 3,166 Building Officials licensed in Flori da were emailed copies of the Building Officials survey. Five hundred and three Group II members responded. The margin of error for this Group was 4.01. The Homeowners, Group III, list was purchased from Marketing Systems Group Genesys ) located at 755 Business Center Drive, Suite 200, Horsham, PA, 19044. The company was established in 1987 to provide market research information such as the number Homeowners in Florida. Genesys provide a
82 randomly targeted survey of 3,000 homeowners. Dire ct mail surveys with self addressed postage paid return envelopes were then sent to the listed Homeowners; 204 responded. The margin of error based on the surveys sent was 6.63 which falls just outside of the 95 % range The Surveys were all conducted by Florida Research Survey Center who maintained custody and control of the data at all times. Survey Conducted As previously stated, three surveys were conducted. All surveys, including the I nternet survey s w ere performed over a period of t welve months. The data was then analyzed and reviewed by the Florida Survey Research Center Any additional information gathered from personal interviews, direct mail various reading materials and other outside sources did not directly impact the three surveys. Chapter 6, the next C hapter, will analyze the data collected from the surveys developed in Chapter 5.
83 CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS OF RESULTS In order to fully understand the demands of Florida's citizens a three pronged state wide survey was conducted. The three Group s consisted of three general classes and eighteen subclasses. The surveys were conducted either by direct mail or email, depending on the Group being surveyed. Group I was directed to Contractors and Subcontractors. The subset of this Group included Air Cond itioning/Heating & Ventilating Contractors, Alarm Contractors, Building Contractors, Electrical Contractors, Plumbing Contractors, Residential Co ntractors, Roofing Contractors, Specialty Contractors, and Other Contractors. Of the three Group s surveyed, it was anticipated that this Group would be the least likely to believe that licensing a HRC would be a good idea. HRCs, if licensed would presumably invade the turf of the trades and potentially compete for, or take away, some of their business. Naturally, t he trades would object to any such infringement that could threaten their economic wellbeing. Group II, Building Inspectors, was comprised of City Building Officials, County Building Officials, Department of Building & Professional Responsibility officials Private Building Inspectors, and Other inspectors. This Group was expected to be very much in favor of licensing to eliminate a very large group of unlicensed contractors. As is evidenced by DBPR's typical protocol for all sting operations, bait house s c an be set up to hook the unsuspecting HRC by inviting them to bid on work that the HRC can not do per Florida law. As such, it was expected that this G rou p would favor establishment of a HRC license to assist in reducing unlicensed construction activity in Florida and to assi st in the protection of Florida's citizens. Group III, Homeowners, was the primary
84 target G roup simply because the demand for the HRC is generated from this G roup Without the need for the services, the number of HRCs would greatly dimin ish. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive Gro u p to research. Combined with the research and background information from Chapters 1, 2 and 3, a list of contractors, inspectors and homeowners in Florida independent survey questions were prepared for the three groups. The Florida Survey Research Center at the University of Florida ("FSRC") assisted in compiling the survey. A list of contractors and licensed inspectors was obtained from DBPR. FSRC obtained a list of homeowners in the state from Genesys wh o first reduced the sample size by limiting the Group to those owners who owned their homes for five years or more. All three categories, even with the reduction parameters, left very large pools from which to draw samples. Fortunately FSRC has the experti se, experience and knowledge to reduce the sample size to provide the statistical data necessary to obtain accurate responses to each Group s survey questions. Once the filters were applied, FSRC sent emails to the email address provided by DBPR for Contra ctors, Subcontractors and Building Officials. The Homeowners were surveyed by direct mail. To better understand the relationship between the G roups and subgroups, selected questions were cross referenced between and among the G roups The cross referenced data will follow the presentation of the three G roups surveys and data analysis, but first, a review of the responses from Groups I, II and III are analyzed. All three surveys are attached as Appendix B with sub headings as Group I, Group II a n d Group III. The questions presented for each Group are numbered by the Group number, followed by question number and then by the answer number. For example, the first
85 question in Group I will be shown as 1.1. T he first answer to the first question in Group I will be shown as 1.1.1. T h e second question in Group I will be shown as 1.2 and the answer to the second Question in Group I will be shown as 1.2.1 and so on. Group I Contractors and Subcontractors Group I consists of Air Conditioning/Heating & Ventilating Contra ctors, Alarm Contractors, Building Contractors, Electrical Contractors, Plumbing Contractors, Residential Contractors, Roofing Contractors, Specialty Contractors, and Other Contractors. Sending emails to this Group was relatively easy because DBPR provided the email address of the certified and / or registered Florida contractors broken down by license categories described in Chapter 3 As mentioned before this Group is of particular i nterest because they are the at risk Group economically. They are also the Group most likely to object on the basis of education and training. Each of the trades in this Group must be licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board prior to commencing work in their licensed filed. Uncountable contractors and subcontractors will argue that their trade should be protected from a CHRC's inclusion in Florida Statute Â§489. They will argue that their trade required extensive training and education and that a CHRC will be allowed to do work in their respective field without proper training and education. What Group II may be failing to recognize is that creating a license under Florida Statute 489 for a CHRC will also list the requirements to become a licensed HRC. Group II should also keep in mind that their trade, at one time pr ior to the Florida Legislator creating the licensing laws in their respective field, was also unlicensed. Recent changes in the licensing law include the addition of such licenses as Low Voltage Contractors and Home Inspector Contractors. Until 2004, Low Voltage
86 Contractors could obtain a license by grandfathering prior to July 1, 2010 under Florida Statute 489.514 Home Inspectors were not licensed by the state until 2010. These recent changes to Florida's construction laws have enabled multiple businesse s to enter the industry in spite of the objections of the affected trade contractor. Arguments were presented and protests were conducted by trade group s and their lobbyists as they tried to persuade legislators to vote against the proposed laws However, once the law wa s enacted, little or no discussion has been raised by the protesting trade Group or their lobbyists. Because of the adoption of these new licenses, DBPR can now regulate the activities of Low Voltage Contractors and Home Inspector Contracto rs. The inclusion of these licenses forced contractors wanting to install alarm systems and other low voltage equipment and individuals wanting to perform home inspector services to maintain Worker's Compensation and Liability insurance. The requirement to carry Worker's Compensation and liability insurance provides additional protection to the public for work related injuries, property damage and personal injury. What is important to point out here is that the two most interested licenses, electrical and building contractors, have not suffered significant losses after the enactment of the new licenses. It is difficult to say whether DBPR's involvement in these two categories decreased after the law was enacted because both topics did not require a license before the law regulating the industry was established. So it is important to understand the logic behind some of the questions asked and the answers given by the Contractors and Subcontractors in this survey. In other words, are the Contractors and Subcon tractors reacting to the question presented or are they simply objecting to the
87 concept because of the economic impact the CHRC license may have on their business. Group I Contractors and Subcontractors Responses follow. Question 1.1 : What is your company Figure 6 1 shows the primary business of the respondents. Adding Building Contractors and Resident ial Contractors together revealed that 213 ( 46% ) respondents were Builder s Likewise adding all of the trade contractors together shows t hat 215 ( 46% ) respondents were trade contractors. Thirty two ( 7% ) of those responding as individual to select more than one answer Figure 6 1 primary bu siness 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Number responding Type of Contractor responding
88 Question 1. 2 : Which of the following categories most accurately reflects your ? Out of the 465 people responding to Question 1.2 of the survey, 190 ( 41% ) made more than $500,000 ann ually, which makes sense when 213 ( 46 % ) of t he respondents were contractors and the question dealt with annu a l income not profit. Even small residential builders annual income can reach $500,000 with just a few sales. This question may not have a lot of relevance in the grand scheme of things simply because the discrepancy inherent within the question does not provide any relevant information. The question might have been better present ed as trade specific. However, the answers provided and their relevance to the overall determination as to licensing HRCs is not expe cted to be a significant factor (Figure 6 2). Figure 6 2. Annual income Question 1.3 : total number of employees? The response s to Question 1.3 show t hat the majority of the respondents represented small companies. The 1 to 5 employee answers totaled 283 ( 61 % ) of the 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Less Than $50,000 $50,000 To $200,000 $200,000 To $500,000 MoreThan $500,000 Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Annual Income In Thousands
89 465 responses This question is important as it was anticipated that small companies would be more responsive to the overall topic of th is study The researcher has no explanation as to why someone would answer "Not sure" but the response was placed there as a "catchall" in case the person did not want to answer. The remaining 441 ( 95% ) of those surveyed clearly reported the number of empl oyees wo rking for the ir company (Figure 6 3). Figure 6 3. Number of employees Question 1.4: How many years has your company been in business in Florida? Over 4 0 0 (86% ) of the respondents in Survey I had been in business f or more than 15 years. 186 ( 40% ) have been in business between 6 and 15 years and 111 ( 24% ) for more than 25 years. As previously mentioned, the business environment, particularly in the construction industry, has been less than stellar, that said, the sur vey was only sent to active companies ( Figure 6 4 ) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 1 To 5 6 To 25 26 To 50 More Than 50 Not sure Number Responding Number Of Employees
90 Figure 6 Question 1.5: Have you ever hired a handyman? The responses to Question 1.5 indicate d that an overwhelming majority of contrac tors, 381(82 % ) have ne ver hired a handyman. Only 79 (17 % ) have hired a HRC and less than 1% answered as either answer (Figure 6 5). In some ways the response makes sense because contractors usually subcontract to specific tr ades and those trades all require licenses. When a contractor needs to hire someone to do a small job a HRC might do, the contractor probably calls subcontractor he/she is familiar with. Although 82% of the responding Contractors have never hired a HRC, Contractors still have no problem answering the remaining questions presented in this survey. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Less Than 1 To 2 Years 1 To 5 Years 6 To 15 Years 16 To 25 Years More Than 25 Years Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Number Of Years In Business
91 Figure 6 5: Responses to h ave y ou e ver hired a HRC Whether the contractor knows the trade contractor or the quality of his/her work, or if the contractor merely sees the trade contractor on one of his jobs, hiring a licensed trade contractors is just another day at the office for the contractor. The longer the contractor is in business the more probable it becomes that a contractor will hire a licensed trad e contractor even for little jobs or repairs. Question 1.5 A. What type of work have you had a handyman perform for your company? Of the 465 respondents to the survey only 148 answered this question but only 85 admitted that they had ever hired a handyman i n the previous question. Of the 148 who answered, 132 we re probably violating Florida law by aiding and abetting unlicensed activity. Approximately 413 ( 89% ) of the contractors that answered the question do not subcontracted work to HRCs Unless the HRC i s a full or part time employee, and the employer is paying his W/C and payroll taxes, 413 (89%) of the 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 Yes No Don't Know Rather Not Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Don't Know, Rather Not Answer
92 contractors that answered this question are not aware of Florida's licensing laws. W ork ing u nder the license holder as a n IRS 1099 employee does not enab le the 1099ed employee to perform the work the licensed contractor can do. Under the scenario just mentioned, the 1099ed employee must be an independent contractor with his/her own license. What is more alarming is that if 132 people use HRCs as described in Question 1. 5 ( A ) that could mean that 132 people of the 465 responding to the survey are unaware of the possibility that they are breaking the law. In other words, roughly 130 ( 28% ) of the people surveyed may not know exactly the work a HRC can and cann ot legally perform The law, related to unlicensed construction activity, is complicated but there is a bright line that most contractors can see without much effort on their own because either through the licensing process or their continuing education cl ass, the subject has been presented to the contractor (Figure 6 6) Figure 6 6. T ype of work that a HRC has p erformed for the respondents 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 Number Responding Reason For Hiring The HRC
93 Question 1.6: How satisfied were you with the work the most recent time you hired a handyman to work for your com pany ? All of contractors and trade contractors that responded to Question 1.5 als o responded to this question. Based on the results of the survey it appears that contractors and trade contractors do not find the work performed by handymen to be satisfacto ry. Approximately 14 ( 3% ) of the respondents were completely satisfied with the HRC while 65 ( 14% ) were somewhat satisfied with the work, 204 ( 44% ) were somewhat dissatisfied and 76 % were completely dissatisfied with the work done by a HRC. Admittedly, th e question only pertains to overall satisfaction with the HRC, it does not provide the respondent anyway to state the reason for the dissatisfaction. The dissatisfaction could be related to price, prompt arrival and or time to complete, as opposed to quali ty of work. Also, the largest number of respondents, "Somewhat dissatisfied," did not have a way in the survey to state why they were "Somewhat dissatisfied." As with those "Completely dissatisfied," the reason could be totally unrelated to th e quality of the HRC's work. According to the responses in Question 1.5, only 79 respondents could logically answer this question because the remaining 386 responding to the Group I survey have never hired a HRC. Never the less it is important to point out that the o verwhelming HRCs workmanship will need to improve if Florida creates a CHRC license. Figure 6 7 shows that only 13 of 80 ( 6% ) of the respondents were in some way satisfi ed, while 67 or 80 ( 84% ) were in some way dissatisfied with whatever work the
94 er can clearly see that the HRC industry has some work to do to earn the respect of Group I. Figure 6 7. Question 1.7( A ): Because 1099 employees are responsible for their own licenses, contractors who hire them are no t responsible for their work. T he general rule imposed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is that "... an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and ho w it will be done. The earnings of a person who is working as an independent contractor are subject to Self Employment Tax Contractors often hire independent contractors such as plumbers, carpenters and electricians to work on their projects. The contr actor reports payments made to the independent contractor to IRS but does not withhold Social Security tax, Medicare and income tax from the payment made to the independent contractor; those expenses 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 Completely Satisfied Somewhat Satisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Completely Dissatisfied Not Sure Number Responding Satisfaction Or Dissatisfaction With HRC
95 become the responsibility of the independent contractor. When the contractor subcontracts work requiring a license to a n IRS 1099 person, that person must be properly licensed. Contractors often believe they can hire a part time or temporary person to perform work under the contractor's license and pay them as a n IRS 1099 employee s When the contractor does that and the IRS 1099 employee is unlicensed, the contractor is aiding and abetting unlicensed activity and the 1099 employee is guilty of performing unlicensed work. The answer to Question 1.7 (A) is that the contractor is not respon sible for the activity of a licensed 1099 subcontractor. However, the contractor can not legally subcontract to a 1099ed person to perform licensed work if the individual is not licensed Employees working for a licensed contractor a re not required to have licenses when performing work their employer is licensed to do as long as the contractor withholds the appropriate IRS fees Twenty eight ( 6% ) of the contractors re sponding to the survey believed they are not responsible for 1099 em ployees while 423 ( 91% ) of the m believed they are responsible for unlicensed 1099 employees. Of the remainder, 3% were unsure and 1% preferred not to answer. As noted previously Florida law considers hiring unlicensed subcontractors to do work under a lic ensed contractor violates Florida law ( Figure 6 8) Question 1.7( B ) : In the state of Florida, hiring a n IRS1099 unlicensed employee to do work requiring a license is against the law. This question is intended to clarif y any ambiguity in 1.7( A ). 372 ( 80% ) of the contractors and subcontractors responding agree d that hiring unlicensed contractors to perform licensed work is illegal, but 15% still believe d that it is acceptable to hire
96 unlicensed contractors to do work requiring a license. Roughly 5% d id not know or preferred not to answer this question ( Figure 6 8) This is a basic question that all contractors and subcontractors should know the answer to. They all studied this topic and needed to know it when they sat for their respective exams, and it is almost always reviewed during mandatory continuing education classes. Contractors and trade contractors are also aware of DBPR stings and the consequences arising from the sting for unlicensed work. Perhaps one of the problems with unlicensed activity is t he lack of understanding of how important it is for contractors and trade contractors to hire only licensed 1099ed contractors. Another thought is that contractors and subcontractors may not be aware of the statutory causes of action that the state can bri ng against licensed contractors for aiding and abetting unl icensed activity. Question 1.7( C ) : A certified or registered contractor may legally agree to let another person who is not certified or registered use his/her certification number. A pproximately 17% ( 79 ) of those surveyed still believe d it is alright to "lend" their license to an unlicensed person; more likely than not, this 17% is the same 15% Group that answered question 7 (b) incorrectly It is illegal to "lend" a license to anyone. Eighty perc ent of the 465 responde d to this question correctly ( Figure 6 8) Like the previous question, the state test combined with continuing education classes and publicized DBPR sting results should be enough to inform all contractors that "lending" their licens e could cost them their license. In summary, l icensed contractors cannot hire 1099ed employees to do work requiring a license even thou gh the hiring contractor is licensed. Hiring 1099ed
97 employees to do licensed work is a not a good legal decision a nd, li censed contractors and trade contractors cannot "lend" their license to an unlicensed contractor Figure 6 8. U nderstanding of 1099 employee laws Question 1.8 : Although Florida licenses contractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you beli eve it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a certified a HRC license category for those who make small repairs or improvements to homes? As previously mentioned, Contractors and Trade contractors are the Group s most likely to be affected economica lly by the inclusion of a HRC license. Every person responding weighed in on this question. Of the 465 people surveyed, 266 ( 57% ) determined that licensing HRCs is a good idea while 190 ( 41% ) of those surveyed determined that licensing a HRC's is not good idea ( Figure 6 9) The remaining 2% did not know the answer to the question It was previously anticipated that this Group would object vehemently to the addition of a new license category for HRCs because including this new category could have a direct e ffect on their income and client base 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 Contractor Not Responsible For 1099 Employee Work (A) Hiring 1099 Unlicensed Employee To Do Work Requiring Licens Is Illegal (B) Using Registered Or Certified License By Another Is Iillegal (C) Number Responding TRUE FALSE Don't Know Prefer Not To Answer
98 Figure 6 9. Benefits for Florida in licens ing HRCs Question 1.9 : If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do you think should be includ ed? [Please mark all that apply.] Of the ten response choices available for Question 1.9, Worker's Compensation and Liability Insurance along with financial and criminal background screening rated highest among contractors and trade contractors for Florid a to impose on HRC's should Florida elect to create an HRC license. Out of the 465 people surveyed 90% expected HRC's to have Worker's Compensation and Liability Insurance. A close second at 87% were those who expected HRC's to pass a financial and crimin al background check. Contractors and trade contractors responding to Question 1.9 were free to select as many of the 10 answers as they thought applicable to the issuance of an HRC license. The respondents found that having a four year degree and being at least 18 years or older were of minimal importance. Although economic stability, achieving a passing score on a state administered test, continuing education classes every two years and being of good moral character all came in between 334 ( 72% ) and 376 ( 8 1% ) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Yes No Don't Know Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Don't Know, Prefer Not To Answer
99 of those responding to the survey. There is no doubt that the respondents we re extremely concerned about Worker's Compensation and Liability Insurance as well as the moral character of a potential HRC. According to the Department of Business and Profes sional Regulations' Regional Program Administrator, James Patton, one of the major complaints contractors and trade contractors have about unlicensed contractors is that HRC's have a pricing advantage over licensed contractors because most unlicensed contr actors do not have Worker's Compensation or Liability Insurance. All contractors express that the cost of Worker's Compensation and Liability Insurance have a direct impact on their bottom line and thus licensed contractors customers invoices reflect the o verhead of insurances that most unlicensed contractors do not have. A l most all contractors perceive an unlicensed contractor who does not have proper insurance has a distinct unfair advantage when pricing repairs to an existing residence. For that reason i t is easy to understand why the requirements for an HRC to have Worker's Compensation and Liability Insurance ranks in the 90 percentile (Figure 6 10). Figure 6 10. Ranking suggested prerequisites for licensing a HRC. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 Number Responding Requirements For Licensing HRCs
100 Question 1.10 : If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of repairs or improvements do you think should be covered? [Please mark all that apply.] This question also allows the contractor or trade contractor to select all that apply. Theoretically, there could be as many as 465 responses for any one of the 9 choices. Assuming that all 465 participants made choices as to coverage, 353 ( 76% ) of them found that minor carpentry work should be covered by an HRC li cense. An interesting fact about this finding is that minor carpentry, with the exception of structural minor carpentry, is currently not prohibited by HRCs. For example, replacing interior wood trim, installing new doors in the existing structure, buildin g book cases or cabinets are not prohibited repairs and are currently allowed by HRCs. But, the answer to Question 1.10.3 seems to imply that minor carpentry should be included under an HRC license. The survey showed that 418 ( 90% ) of those surveyed agree that room additions should not be within the purview of a HRC. The responses to the q uestion regarding indicate that 111 ( 24% ) of those surveyed suggest that there are other categories which could be added to th e listed categories a HRC could be licensed to do. Some of the additional categories include painting, drywall, concrete work and repair work under $2,500 .00 Question 1.10 also included an open ended question allowing the respondents to provide a written answer. Those responses included some of the additional items previously mentioned but to be fair, not all of the write ins were in favor of licensing HRCs. One of the respondents to the open ended question let this displeasure be known by stating, "(we) have a tremendous unlicensed activity problem now, and our worker shortage is because every jackass is illegally working as handymen now." The write ins were interesting to review because they gave the respondent freedom to provide insight as to the ir unre stricted
101 opinion O f all those surveyed 116 ( 25% ) provided written responses T he responses var ied from "no restrictions" regarding a HRC to "no way no how." Of the 116 responding to Question 1.10 some simply complain ed that licensing a HRC would allow ad ditional abuse of the existing system and create a regulatory nightmare. It was anticipated that a greater percentage of contractors and trade contractors would object to any form of HRC licensure. That does not appear to be the case even when reviewing th e write in responses. There is no question that contractors and trade contractors are concerned about adding a new license category for HRCs, but with certain restrictions including proper insurance and limitations of what an HRC is allowed to do it appea rs that most contractors may accept the concept (Figure 6 11) Figure 6 11. Work HRCs should be allowed to perform if licensed Question 1.11 : If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following type s of limits on a handyman's services do you think should be imposed? [Please mark all that apply.] It was originally anticipated that the Contractors and Trade Contractors responses to this question would be less likely to allow any work to be done by a 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 Number Responding What Should A HRC Be Licensed To Do
102 ha ndyman. Based on responses by this Group, it is apparent that this Group is more in favor of the concept of a licensed handyman than expected. Perhaps Group I see the benefit of allowing a licensed handyman to perform work for operations that are of a casu al or minor nature. It is important to point out that of th e 465 people surveyed only 295 responded preferring that additional restrictions be imposed on HRCs making plumbing repairs ; 266 ( 90 %) felt the same way about minor electrical repairs ; and 221 ( 75 X %) believed that roof repairs should be limited to 50 square feet T he number of respondents agreeing to allow HRCs to make air conditioning repairs dropped to 176 ( 60 X%). E ven though the respondents agreed to some preset HRC limits, 265 ( 89 X%) wanted to s ee additional limits imposed Ninety nine ( 33 %) preferred to write in an answer 25 ( 8 X%) responded that they were not sure and 32 ( 11 %) decided not to answer at all. Overall, contractors are considering the idea of a CHRC but suggest that additional lim its are important. That being said, contractors and trade contractors were provided an opportunity to state their concerns by providing a written response ((Other (please describe)), stating that they were not sure how to respond (Not sure), or that they decided it was in their best interest not to respond at all (Prefer not to answer). Of the 99 (22%) written respon ses to Question 1.11 a lmost all of the contractors took the position that licensing home repair contractors was not a good idea, somewhat in contrast to other Group I survey questions. along the lines of what was expected For example:
103 "They should not be able to do any construction trade work, WHY DO YOU WANT TO LET THE Handymen do construction work without the proper trade state license?" Respondent unknown. "These all cut into Tradesmen's share of their particular market. It's hard enough to run a company with Service and Contract work together. Take away my Se rvice dept.? Company fails." Respondent unknown. "All of this work is the work of licensed contractors who specialize in these fields. It is crazy to license someone and think they can do them all well. Are you nuts or just have no idea?" Respondent unkno wn. "Leave it to the professional trades to do this work Do not reward this Group for breaking the law like you did with mold and home inspectors." Respondent unknown. Overall, the written responses simply reinforced the non written responses by basically reiterating, in a written format, the same general questions presented to the respondents in the Group I survey. Other responses were simply turf protecting by stating the obvious such as do not let the HRC do work in the A/C trade or do not let the H RC do work in the electrical field. In other words, keep out of my back yard, but it is all right to mow someone else's lawn, maybe even trim some trees. The written responses did not reflect a majority view but rather provided a window into the thoughts of how the concept of licensing a HRC is viewed on a more personal level. It is unknown why a respondent would prefer not to answer, but question 1.11.8 was provided for contractors simply in case the responde nt had no opinion. As you can
104 see from Figure 6 12 the total number of non respondents was minimal and therefore not likely to directly impact the results of the survey. Figure 6 12. L imits on HRCs. Question 1.12 : If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, w ould you hire a licensed handyman if you could legally subcontract work within the scope of the handyman license? With the split of 219 (47%) respondents answering Yes, 192 (41%) answering N o, and 54 (12%) answering U ndecided participants it appears there may be room for a licensed HRC to be employed by other licensed contractors. In the event a licensed contractor position becomes available for HRC's, only time will tell if it was a good idea or not. For now, the votes cast in favor of h iring a licensed h andyman stand at 47% in favor and 41% against hiring a handyman, with the undecided vote at 12%. If a license is established for HRC's it is possible that the decisions of the contractors in this category may change substantially either way depending up on how proficient the HRC 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Number Responding What Would You Hire A HRC To Do
105 licensee becomes. Remember, based on Question 1.8, contractors and trade contractors are in favor of licensing HRC's in Florida But, unlicensed HRC's have caused contractors and trade contractors to remain skeptical about the qual ity of the HRC's work. That position might change if the HRC's were licensed to perform minor work which could benefit contractors and trade contractors by allowing the contractors and trade contractors to subcontract portions of the ir currently licensed a ctivity. To date at least 47% of those surveyed would hire licensed HRC's. Figure 6 13 shows that there are mixed feelings about hiring HRCs by currently licensed contractors Because the votes cast by those answering Question 1.12 are so close, the verdic t is still out as to whether licensed contractors would rely on HRCs to do work for a licensed contractor. Perhaps the skepticism is based on the general feeling that HRCs do substandard work. Figure 6 13. Responses as to whether respondents would hire a licensed CHRC Question 1.13 : Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work, contracting or handyman licensure. 0 50 100 150 200 250 Yes No Don't Know Prefered Not To Answer Number Responding Responses
106 This question allowed contractors and trade contractors to freely list any concerns that they may have. The ty pical concerns were primarily raised by the other 12 questions asked of contractors and trade contractors in this survey. Contractors and trade contractors basically reiterated and supported the answers provided by the other questions presented to this Gro up Contractors and Subcontractors s ummary Contractors and Sub con tractors are concerned about the impact licensed CHRC's may have on their trades, the state's ability to supervise and exercise authority over CHRC's and qualifications necessary to become a licensed CHRC. It is important for this Group to remember that in the past their particular trade was unlicensed as well. There is no question that competency of all trades should remain vitally important. T esting and education is required for all licensed contractors and trade contractors currently licensed in Florida. Licensing a CHRC must also be no less rigorous. Creating a new license category under Florida Statute for CHRC s must establish the burden on the applicant to obtain all of the educational requirements prescribed. If Florida establishes the license, it will be essential for all concerned that minimum standards are developed to assure the public that a CHRC is properly educated, tested and quali fied to work in Florida. Group II Building Officials Group II is comprised of City Building Officials, County Building Officials, DBPR Officials, Private Building Inspectors and other certified or registered inspectors authorized to perform building inspe ction services in Florida. Sending emails to this Group was also relatively easy because DBPR provided the email address of the certified and / or registered inspectors of the licenses subject to Florida Statute C hapter
107 468 of the 40,000 building officials r esponded As no ted the list consisted of thousands of building officials including building administrators, inspectors and DBPR investigators. Group II also assures the public that work of licensed contractors meets minimum standards established by the st ate and local building codes. Members of Group II are empowered by the state and local jurisdictions to exercise police powers of the state in the course of their duties and are in that way similar to law enforcement personnel, correctional officers, and f irefighters. This Group along with the State Attorneys and local police authorities are responsible for discovering and prosecuting unlicensed activity. In so doing, this Group also protects state licensed contractors by attempting to e liminate unlicensed activity. Unfortunately, similar to police officers ticketing all the speeders on the interstate, this Group finds there are more unlicensed contractors than they can ever uncover. Like the police hiding behind the proverbial billboard, DBPR, along with t he other law enforcement officials, set up speed traps called sting operations to catch some of the swift moving unlicensed contractors. (Chapter 4 ) Although effective in catching some of the unlicensed activity, sting operations also work like speed trap s until the unlicensed contractors in the area are warned by other unlicensed contractors of the location of the DBPR speed trap. Like a speed trap, the sting operation simply allows the unlicensed contractor to slow down for a couple of days until the tra p moves on. DBPR and local law enforcement officials understand and recognize that each sting operations life is limited because each arrest exposes the operation. I nformation about the location of the sting is quickly discovered by unlicensed contractor s in the area. Each arrest exposes the operation and it is not long before the community
108 becomes aware of the sting. Stings are helpful in that the unlicensed contractor never knows when, or where the next one will be set up. The survey of Group II was co ncluded after receiving 503 responses from Building Officials solely based on time and economic constraints. Because of the simplicity of sending the survey out to emails provided by DBPR, all inspectors (3,428), with current Building Official Licenses wer e contacted. Members of Group II continue to respond to the survey, but it is believed that 503 respondents is a representative sample of all Building Officials. BDPR's willingness to assist in supplying the Building O fficials and Contractor's list i s grea tly apprecia ted. Question 2.1 : Which of the following best describes your occupation? The responses to Question 2.1 describe the number of City Building Officials, County Building Officials, DBPR Officials, Private Inspectors, Other Inspectors and the catc h all categories Not Sure and refer not to answer. The results of Questi on 2.1 are in Figure 6 14. Figure 6 14. Category of Building Officials responding. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 City Building Official County Building Official DBPR Official Private Building Inspector Other Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Type Of Building Official Responding
109 Question 2.2 : How many years have you been employed as a building official or private buildin g inspector? Question 2.2 proved the majority of those surveyed in Group II had more than 15 years as a building official. Two hundred and twenty six ( 45% ) had more than 15 years of experience One hundred and ten ( 22% ) of the respondents have been in t he business between 11 and 15 years It is probably fair to say that this Group has been exposed to unlicensed construction activity on several occasions More than Group I or Group III, Group II experiences the impact that unlicensed contracting has had on Florida's citizens. Group I and Group III might report isolated incidents of unlicensed activity but Group II is the enforcement Group for unlicensed and shoddy construction. Having Officials with over 11 years of experience enhances the credibility of t his Group. Inspectors and DBPR officials with more than six years of experience have observed firsthand the results of a what may be called an economic recession/ depression. Whatever it was called, it had a devastating impact on construction thought the United States. The economic downturn may have been responsible for more unlicensed work by HRCs as licensed contractors were simply trying to keep their doors open and may have ventured into unlicensed territor ies even thought they were licensed in some ca pacity. Unfortunately for the l icensed contractors when working beyond the scope of their license they are just a s guilty of unlicensed activity as a HRC with no license. Anytime a licensed contractor goes beyond the scope of their license, they are par ticipating in unlicensed construction activity. Participating in unlicensed work, even when that contractor is licensed to perform other construction related activates does not provide a defense for unlicensed activity under Florida Statute 489.
110 Figu re 6 15. Number of years as a Building Official Question 2.3: Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements using a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is "strongly disagree" and 5 is "strongly agree." 2.3.1 Unlicensed construction a ctivity is detrimental to Florida homeowners and small businesses. 2.3.2 A Handyman often performs unlicensed construction activity 2.3.3 Florida's homeowners and small business owners would benefit if Florida established a licensed Handyman category. 2.3 .4 Establishing a licensed handyman category would be economically beneficial to the State of Florida. The answers to Question 2.3.1 show that officials strongly agreed with every subcategory of this question. Over 350 (70%), of the Officials felt that u nlicensed activity in Florida is detrimental to homeowners. Question 2.3.2 came in a close second to Question 2.3.1 with 312 (62%), of the Officials strongly agreeing that unlicensed activity is detrimental to Florida homeowners. The responses to Question 2.3.3 slightly less definitive Apparently Officials are less concerned about the benefits licensing would provide to homeowners. Figure 6 15 shows that Officials are still strongly in agreement 0 50 100 150 200 250 Less Than 1 6 1 To 5 Years 6 To 10 Years 11 To 15 Years More Than 15 Years Not Sure Prefer Not Yo Answer Number Responding Number Of Years As A Building Official
111 with the potential benefits Florida homeowners could expect i f Florida established a HRC license but the percentage is less than that for Question 2.3.1 detrimental unlicensed activity. Question 2.3.3 had a total of 195 ( 39% ) Official s "strongly agreeing" that there are benefits to homeowners if a HRC license is cr eated. Finally also in the "strongly agree" category, B uilding Officials felt that licensing HRC's would be economically beneficial to the state of Florida. Of the 405 building officials answering the survey 155 ( 21% ) believed that licensing HRC's would be economically beneficial and therefore selected the "strongly agree" response Based on the answers to Question 2.3, building officials believed that unlicensed activity is detrimental to Florida's homeowners ; that HRC's currently perform unlicensed act ivity ; that homeowners and businessmen would benefit from a C HRC license ; and that Florida would benefit economically from establishing a C HRC license. Overall, an overwhelming majority of Group II found significant value in establishing a CHRC license. T wo categories tilted the scales toward "strongly disagree." Both homeowners would benefit from establishing a handyman license and establishing a handyman license would be economically beneficial to Florida. Both categories came in at 22% or below the tot al votes by the 503 participants in the survey. But nothing can detract from the respondents position that unlicensed activity is detrimental and that HRCs perform unlicensed work. Unlicensed activity has been recognized as a contributing cause of substant ial homeowners until unlicensed activity is substantially reduced.
112 Figure 6 16. U nlicensed a ctivity and benefit to Florida if CHRCs are licensed Question 2 .4 : If the state of Florida w ere to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do you think should be included? [Select all that apply] Building Officials have put forth their thoughts on what qualifications are necessary if Florida were to establish an HRC license category. Looking at the Figure 6 17 all categories seem to be of importance to officials with the exception of the requirements for a four year formal education. Under Florida Statute 489, experience is a substitute for four year s of formal education. Figure 6 17 Q ualifications HRC should have to be licensed 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 Strongly Disagree 2 3 4 Strongly Agree Number Responding Unlicensed Activity Detrimental HRC Perform Unlicensed Work Homeowners And Business Benefit From License Licensing HRC Would Economically Benefit Florida 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 Number Responding HRC Qualifications
113 Question 2.5 : If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of small repairs or minor improvements do you think should be covered? [Select all that apply] If licensing a CHRC is going to work at all it must have the support of all three survey G roups. The answers to questions by Group II indicate that there is support for a C HRC license at the state level. C onfirmation by 337 ( 67% ) of the building officials pertaining to minor plumbing repair being allowed to be performed by CHRC's is a clear indicator of the building acceptance of the concept. Although the endorsement regarding electrical work was slightly less at 291 ( 58% ) building officials have again confirmed the acceptance of a C HRC license. Minor carpentry came in at 407 ( 81% ) however minor carpentry is already allowed to be performed by CHRC's under current law. There are some restrictions pertaining to minor carpentry but it was anticipated that minor carpentry would be accepted by building officials anyway. Building officials conceptually confirmed the acceptance of CHRC's and s u p port CHRC's ability to make minor repairs to defective roo fs by 316 ( 63% ) Although not quite as enthusiastic about allowing CHRC's to perform air conditioning work, building officials still agreed by 46% that CHRC's should be allowed to make minor HVAC repairs. Only 65 ( 13% ) of the building officials felt that allowing CHRC's to do room additions was acceptable. The question regarding room additions was simply a red herring, current Florida statutes already address who can and cannot do room additions. Building officials responding to the "other" category were p rimarily concerned about adding restrictions and preventing CHRC's from exc eeding a defined scope of work. The scope of work for HRCs must be well defined if Florida establishes a CHRC license.
114 Additional factors suggested by the building officials centere d around proper insurances, including workers compensation and liability insurance, as well as proper testing and post licensing education by CHRC sho uld a license become available; a ll well reasoned concerns which must be addressed should the state of Flo rida establish a CHRC license. Figure 6 18 summarizes Group II 's answers to Question 2.5. Figure 6 18. T ype of small repair s a HRC should be allowed to do Question 2.6 : If the State of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of limits on the Handyman's services do you think should be imposed? [Mark all that apply] Question 2.6 like Question 2.5, also strongly supports adding a HRC license category to Florida Statute 489. Of the 333 people that ans wered minor plumbing repair 100% of the building officials were in agreement with allowing HRCs to perform minor plumbing work. For some reason, building officials are slightly less liberal when it comes 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 Number Responding What Should A HRC Be Allowed To Do
115 to minor electrical repairs. That said, 296 ( 89% ) o f the building officials surveyed agreed that minor electrical work should be allowable if Florida establishes a CHRC license. Building officials were slightly less enthusiastic regarding air conditioning repairs. However, 78% of those answering this q uest ion were in agreement with allowing home repair contractors to perform minor AC repairs if Florida establishes a CHRC license. The responses to allowing HRCs to do room additions indicated that 53 ( 1 6 % ) of the respondents selected additional limits for ro om additions. Likewise, B uilding officials responses submitting ther came in at 100 (3 0 % ) N ot Sure also of minimal importance to building officials as they responded by less than 1% of those surveyed. The last response Preferred Not To Answer was selected so infrequently that it did not even register in Figure 6 18. Prefer not to answer scored 3% of those responding to this question. Question 2.5, when combined with Question 2.6, tends to strongly support a recommendation by buil ding officials that Florida should establish a CHRC license Figure 6 19. Building Officials limits on what CHRCs can do 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Number Responding Limits On HRCs
116 Question 2.7 : If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman license category, should a licensed Handyman be allow ed to legally subcontract work from other licensed contractors (as defined in Florida statute C hapter 489.105)? Based on the responses to the two previous questions, it was expected that the majority of the building officials responding to this question wo uld have agreed that HRC's should be allowed to subcontract with other licensed contractors. Simply based on percentages of responses it appears that building officials did not favor allowing HRC's to subcontract from licensed contractors. Although there i s some difference between allowing, and not allowing, CHRC's to subcontract55% of the building officials were in favor of not allowing C HRC's to subcontract while 41% of the building officials were in favor of the concept T he 14% spread might be narrowed if the legislature decides to create a CHRC license with specific limits as to the scope of what work a CHRC would be allowed to subcontract. Figure 6 20 represents the responses submitted by Group II Building Officials. Figure 6 20. HRCs subcontracti ng to licensed contractors 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Yes No Don't Know Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Don't Know, Prefer Not To Answer
117 Question 2.8 : Although Florida licenses contractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a Certified Handyman License category for those who make small repairs o r minor improvements to homes? More than twice as many building officials concluded that it would be beneficial for the state to offer a CHRC license than did not. It is important to remember that building inspectors include all types of inspectors such as electrical, plumbing and other trades ( Figure 6 21 ) Figure 6 21. Building Officials f avor e stablishing a CHRC license Question 2.9 : Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work, contracting, or handyman licensure. Th is question is an open ended question which provided building officials freedom to express their thoughts. A representative sample of pro and con responses is provided in Appendix F. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Yes No Don't Know Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Don't Know, Prefer Not To Answer
118 Building Officials s ummary The responses in Appendix F are representativ e of the 108 writ ten responses received. Overall, based on a review of the entire 108 responses building officials favor licen sing of a CHRC by approximately three to one. The written responses provide insight into building officials thoughts beyond the m ore restrictive scope of the survey. Reviewing the written responses it is clear that building officials are concerned about the extent, and sometimes limitations which should be imposed in the event Florida establishes a CHRC license. Several negative re sponses circled around the premise that Florida does not need any additional licenses to regulate. These responses c oming from building officials regarding additional regulation was totally unexpected. Although clearly a minority among negative responses m ore than one respondent felt that additional regulations were unnecessary. Overall based on the survey and responses building officials appeared to be in favor of the concept. Group III Homeowners a nd Small Business Owners Of the three Group s Group III wi ll likely be the G roup most affected by the incorporation of a CHRC license in Florida. One of the reasons why the DBPR uses a single family home in need of minor repairs is that single family homes tend to routinely draw out unlicensed home repair contrac tors. This G roup has proven time, and time again, to be a good source of the DBPR's successful sting ope ration. As previously mentioned, DBPR invites licensed and unlicensed contractors to bid on minor home repairs similar to the needs of Group III. The st ing operations are designed to remove the unlicensed contractors from the marketplace thereby reducing potential losses to Florida's residents. Members of Group III might only become aware that they hired an unlicensed contractor after the fact. The allure of hiring one contractor to make several different types of minor repairs might even appear to be beneficial to members of this
119 Group When the HRC successfully completes the contracted work G roup III members may never know that the HRC was unlicensed. W hen an HRC unsuccessfully, or negligently, fails to complete the work, members of Group III are left with little or no remedies. Trying to collect for the damages incurred resulting from an HRC may be synonymous with the old adage of getting blood from a s tone. Unlicensed contractors and HRC's seldom have workers compensation, liability insurance or assets recoverable if a judgment is entered against them. Remedies for unlicensed activity may leave and unsuspecting homeowner without an y equitable remed ies The Group III survey was administered in order t o determine whether homeowners perceive a benefit in establishing a CHRC Question 3.1 : In the last five years, have you needed the services of a handyman to make small repairs or improvements to your home? U nfortu nately the most important G roup of the three is also the most expensive to research. The direct mail costs to homeowners may have limited responses from of this G roup. Had money been no object, a larger sample would have been pursued, and may have re sulted in a greater number of respondents. Three Thousand surveys were sent to randomly selected homeowners throughout the state. With limited funds, it was impossible to acquire a greater number of responses Of the respondents, 168 have needed the service s usually provided by H RC's within t he last five years (Figure 6 22). Even though the margin of error is slightly less than 5%, the confidence level for Group III is still above 93%. As previously stated, this is the most expensive Group to survey but bas ed on a 93% confidence level, the data supports this papers conclusion.
120 Figure 6 22. N eed for C HRC services Question 3.2: In the last five years, have you hired a handyman to make small repairs or improvements to your home? This question is similar in nature to question number 3.1 and produced a similar result. Because the results are so similar there is no need to further analyze the responses to this question. Question 3.3: Which of the following types of repairs/improvements have you hired a hand yman to complete in your home in the past five years? [Please Mark all that apply.] The respondents were given the choice to answer yes, or no, to each questions 3.3 .1 through 3.3.11. Figure 6 23 only charts the yes answers as the negative answers were onl y supplied to verify that the total number of respondents to Questi on 3. 1 matched those for Question 3.3 For example, 168 people answered "Yes", 35, answered "No" and 1 "Was Not sure" for the total response of 204 responding to Question 3.1. In contrast t o Question 3.1 78 answered "Yes" while 84 answered "No" for a total of 162 ans wering Question 3.1. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Yes No Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Not Sure, Prefer Not To Answer
121 By deduction, if 168 people needed the services of a handyman within the last five years ( Figure 6 22) and 78 people required minor electrical work, while 84 had no need for electrical work within the past five years ( Figure 6 23 ), it can be deduced that the number of people answering "Yes" to Question 3.1and Question 3. 3 were one and the same people. I n other words, if 168 people answered Yes to Question 3. 3 and the combination of "Yes" and "No" answers totaled 162 it is assumed that the responses were justified. Wherever possible, the same logic has been applied throughout this study. A more thorough analysis of Question 3.3 revealed the following: 48% of those surveyed have had minor electric al repairs (like replacing a ceiling Fan or an electrical outlet) by a HRC in the preceding five years; 51% of those surveyed have had repairs or replacement of a plumbing faucet; 20% of those surveyed have had A/C air ducts cleaned; 82% of those surveyed have had their home's exterior Pressure washed; 04% of those surveyed have had wood decks installed; 44% of those surveyed have had exterior or interior painting work done; 15% of those surveyed have had an exterior door replaced; 16% of those surveyed have had replacement windows installed; 39% of those surveyed have had Other services performed; 1% of those surveyed were not sure what was done, and; 1% of those surveyed prefer not to answer All of the items listed in Question 3.3 currently require the work to be performed by a Florida licensed contractor except pressure washing and perhaps some other items not sure, and prefer not to answer depending on what the respondent meant when answering the question In most cases it is believed that Group II I respondents are unaware of which items require a permit and which do not. Based on the responses to this question, it might be advantageous to Florida citizens for the state of Florida to invest in some public service announcements highlighting the pitfalls of hiring unlicensed contractors.
122 Figure 6 23. Type of HRC work done in the last five years Question 3.4 : How satisfied were you with the work the most recent time you hired a handyman to make small rep airs or improvements to your home? Once again, the total number of respondents to question 3.4. ranging from ompletely S atisfied to ompletely D issatisfied basically equals the number of people responding to 3.1 and Figure 6 24 illustrates the respond ents total disrespect for the services provided by HRCs. Ninety one percent of those surveyed were either mewhat D issatisfied or ompletely D issatisfied with the work provided by HRC's (Figure 6 24). Completely satisfied is a high standard to meet bu t indicating that an HRCs must do a better job 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Number Responding Type Of Work A HRC Has Done For You In Last Five Years
123 Figure 6 24 Satisfaction with HRCs work Question 3.5 : Have you ever had any k ind of problem with a handyman you hired to make small repairs or improvements to your home? The responses to Question 3.5 indicate d that 10 2 ( 64% ) of the respondents had experienced some sort of problem with HRC's work Merging the responses to Questions 3.4 of omewhat D issatisfied and ompletely D issatisfied along with the es answers to Question 3.5 an early conclusion may be drawn that HRC work is not well respected and / or appreciated among Florida's homeowners. The response to this question is in keeping with television, newspaper a nd other media reports. Figure 6 25 shows what the researcher expected pertainin the HRC industry today (Figure 6 25). Although the question is general in nature, there can be no doubt t hat the HRC industry is not well respected in the eyes of the public. However, in spite of the negative response to Question 3.5, HRCs continue to operate below the radar in Florida. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Completely Satisfied Some What Satisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Completely Dissatisfied Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction With HRC's Work
124 Figure 6 25 Problems with HRC's work Question 3.6 : W as the handyma n you most recently hired to make small repairs or improvements to your home licensed in the state of Florida? Forty one ( 27% ) of those answering question 3.6 were not sure if the Handyman was licensed or not. Even more disturbing though, is that over 78 ( 50% ) of the respondents were aware that the HRC was unlicensed (Figure 6 26) As mentioned in Chapter 4 knowingly allowing an unlicensed contractor to perform work for compensation could subject the homeowner to criminal charges and e conomic losses impose d by the St ate. I I n addition to the legal ramificati on which may be imposed by the S tate, homeowner's hiring unlicensed contractors run the risk of the work not meeting current codes and not having the work inspected by local building officials for safety purposes thereby jeop ardizing their life and the lives of their family. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Yes No Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Mumbeer Responding Yes, No, Not Sure, Prefer Not To Answer
125 Figure 6 26. Knowledge of HRC licensing prior to hire Question 3.7 P lease indicate whether you believe each of the following statements is true or false: Replacing a leaky fau cet washer requires a licensed plumbing contractor Replacing a ceiling fan requires a licensed electrical contractor Installing a new front door requires a licensed general contractor Replacing a dishwasher requires a licensed plumbing contractor Exterior pressure washing requires a licensed painting contractor Interior painting requires a licensed painting contractor Constructing or remodeling a wood deck requires a licensed contractor Only licensed contractors can pull building permits for home repairs Mi nor repairs costing less Than $1000 .00 do N OT require a permit. Questions 3.7 through Question 3.9 were included in the survey in order to understand the public's knowledge of legal issues, and laws pertaining to contracting in Florida. As stated througho ut this paper contractors and homeowners have certain legal duties and responsibilities under Florida law. These questions were designed to determine whether Florida residents we re aware of some of Florida's contracting laws. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Yes No Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Not Sure, Prefer Not To Answer
126 Homeowner responses to Questi o n 3.7 are summarized in Figure 6 27. Basically, Homeowners are unaware that repairing a leaky faucet, replacing a ceiling fan, installing a new front door and replacing a dishwasher are all examples of repairs that can only be done by licensed contractors Figure 6 27. True o r False r esponses to Question 3.7 Question 3.8 : W hich of the following do you believe are required by Florida law in order to receive or maintain a certified contractors' license of any type? [Please mark all that apply.] Ranking the responses by most often selected, proof of Liability and Worker's Compensation Insurance was selected by 157 ( 77 %) respon dents The homeowners believe d that a passing score on state administered test was only second to Worker's Compensation as it was s elected by 138 ( 68 %) respondents Respondents were also concerned about the financial and criminal background of the contractor but that response came in third with 120 ( 59 %) responses. Economic stability, continuing education classes every two years, and a four year education in the specialty field came 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Number Responding TRUE Responses FALSE Responses
127 in at below 65 ( 36% ) and Liability Insurance. (Figure 6 28) Figure 6 28. Homeowners suggested pre qualifications for licensing CHRCs Question 3.9 : Which of the following legal penalties do you believe apply when hiring an unlicensed person to make small repairs or improvements on your home? [Please indicate all that apply ] The responses to this Question demonstrates how little the pub lic knows about the consequences of hiring an unlicensed contractor. Of all the persons responding to this question only 36% were aware that they might be aiding and abetting unlicensed activi ty ; 17% understood that they could be fi ned for hiring unlicense d HRCs and less than 6% knew that criminal charges, felony convictions and jail time are all options that the state can impose on anyone aiding and abetting unlicensed activity. So far the responses appear to indicate acceptance of the concept of licensing HRC's in Florida, but if the public were educated about the legal risks they take by hiring 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Number Responding Prequalifications For Licensing HRCs
128 unlicensed HRCs it would be interes ting to see if public endorsement increased significantly (Figure 6 29). Figure 6 29. Knowledge of penalties fo r hiring unl icensed contractors Question 3.10 : Under which of the following circumstances, if any, would you consider hiring an unlicensed person to make small repairs or improvements to your home? [Please mark all that apply] Fifty three ( 51% ) of those responding de termined it was acceptable to seek the services of a friend, acquaintance, or of a person previously known to the respondent. Friends and acquaintances may be a good alternative to a certified HRC, but previous knowledge of the person will not relieve any legal responsibilities that may arise from hiring those people (Figu re 6 30) Forty ( 39% ) responded indicating that they would hire an unlicensed HRC if they did not know the work required a licensed contractor. As with any legal action, this defense would not stand the scrutiny of the court system and the homeowner co u ld still suffer the consequences of hiring an unlicensed contractor. Unavailability during emergencies might be one time when the court overlooks hiring unlicensed contractors 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 You May Be LiableFor Adding And Abetting Unlicensed Activity You May Be Fined Up To $5000 You May Be Charged Criminally You May Be Charged With A Felony You May Sereve Time In Jail Number Responding Knowledge Of Penalties For Hiring Unlicensed Contractors
129 and 20 ( 19% ) of those surveyed were willing to hire an unlicensed HRC if no other option were available (Figure 6 30). However, law enforcement more aggressively purs u es unlicensed contractors following a natural disaster. As with most issues, cost is always a consider ation when it comes to home repair and 1 8 ( 7% ) of the homeowner respondents agreed (Figure 6 30). At this point there is no way to compare the difference in cost between a CHRC and an unlicensed contractor because Florida does not currently license C HRCs. Figure 6 30 H iring unlicensed c ontractors Question 3.11 : Although Florida licenses contractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a certified handyman license category for those who make small repairs or home improvements to homes? All other questions in the survey aside, this question directly asks the participants to determine whether they believe d that licensing C HRC's would be beneficial to Florida and in turn to them. As shown i n Figure 6 31, 142 ( 70% ) of the respondents affirmatively agreed with the concept. Even though 70% agree d the swing category 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Number Responding When Would Yo Hire An Unlicensed HRC
130 may very well be the undeci ded or "Not sure" respondents. The "Yes" answers at 47% ( 34% ) but the undeci ded vote could be a game changer at 36 ( 18% ) of the respondents The responses to Question 3.12 did not v a ry susbstantially form Question 3.8 so no additional review is necessary for Q uestion 3.12 (Figure 6 31). Figure 6 3 1 Responses to whether Flori da should establish a HRC license Question 3.12: If the state of Florida were to establish a certified Handyman License category, which of the following for repairs or improvements do you think should be covered? [Please Mark all that apply.] The results o f the survey indicate that between 112 ( 55% ) and 132 ( 65% ) of those surveyed found that minor roof repair carpentry, electrical and plumbing work should be within the scope a CHRC. Slightly less than 102 ( 50% ) thought minor A/C work should be allowed and 73 ( 36% ) wanted to allow CHC's to contract for room additions (Figure 6 32). Questions 3.13 through 3.20 provided personal information such as gender, income, own or rent home, business owner or home owner and whether the respondent wa s involved in the con struction industry. Questions 3.13 through 3.20 are important 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Yes No Not Sure Prefer Not To Answer Number Responding Yes, No, Not Sure, Prefer Not To Answer
131 questions but the responses did not appear to directly impact the results of the survey presented to Group III. Figure 6 32. Type of work C HRC should be allowed to do Summary of Homeowner' s Overall, Homeowners and small business owners tend to agree that a CHRC license might benefit Florida and its citizens. That said, the acceptance does not come without concern. Group III members expressed opinions regarding additional state wide regulat ions if a CHRC license is created. The underlying tone here is that Florida already has too many laws and adding this license will certain ly not reduce that number. But Group III is not overly satisfied with the HRC industry claiming that the majority of t he unlicensed contractors work is unsatisfactory. Group III provides some guidance as to what type of work CHRC's should be allowed to do. Generally speaking, this G roup is in favor allowing minor plumbing, electrical, A/C and carpentry work to be include d in the CHRC certification. Perhaps the most interesting discovery is that Group III is mostly unaware of the consequences of their actions in aiding and abetting unlicensed work. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Number Responding Type Of Work HRC's Should Be Allowed To Do
132 Cross Tabs A mong Survey Groups The following three sections will provide ad ditional insight into the responses to the pr imary survey. A cross tab illustrates the relationship between two or more survey questions Cross tabbing provides the reader with a side by side comparison of how different Group s within all the Group s responde d to the questions. Contractors and Subcontractors Cross Tabs Figure 6 33 shows the relationship between Group I subgroups and if they ever hired a handyman or not. This Cross Tab shows that of those tha t have hired a HRC Building Contractors and Electri cal contractors are the m ajor users Even though the responses to Question 1.5 reveal ed that Building Contractors hire HRCs, only 8% of the contractors responded to the question with "Yes". Of all of Group I respondents, Building Contractors are the logica l sub members to engage a HRC because HRCs are willing to do most of the work licensed trade contractors do. When a Building Contractor needs minor repairs to an ongoing project they can call on e person to get the job done. Figure 6 33 Cross Tabs of Q uestion 1.1 with Question 1 5 s how ing the relationship between the type of contractor and if they ever hired a HRC. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Number Responding Yes responses No responses
133 By Cross tabbing Question 1.1 with Question 1.6 indicates that Building Contractors, the largest subgroup tha t hire HRCs as shown in Figure 6 33 is also the the HRC's work. Conversely, the majority of Electrical Contractors that responded were Specialty Contractors, Roofi ng Contractors and Alarm System Contractors expressed l ittle or no interest in disclosing their acceptance or rejection of work performed by HRCs ( Figure 6 33). Although Figure 6 33 looks impressive, the researcher cautions the reader to be aware that the total number of responses available for this cross tab ou t of nearly 500 was extremely small. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the number is skewed. Figure 6 34. Cross tabs Question 1.1 by Question 1.6 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Number Responding Completely Satisfied Somewhat Satisfied Somewhat Dissatisfied Completely Dissatisfied
134 Figure 6 34 illustrates the relat ionship between the type of contractor and their acceptance of the work a HRC performed. Based on the responses, the chart indicates RCs. In contrast, Building Contractors were most Somewhat Dissatisfied with HRCs. By cross t abbing of Question 6.1 with Question 6. 7B Building Contractors appear to be on point when it comes to believing that hiring unlicensed IRS 1099 employee is not legal in Florida Florida statutes preclude hiring unlicensed contractor s to perform any activity which requires a license or building permit if the individual is not licensed to do the work. Most contractors are aware that they are responsible for unlicen sed work if the employee is paid as an independent contractor or as a n IRS 1099 employee Figure 6 3 5 Cross tab of Question 6.1 with 6 7B Type of contactor Hiring HRCs as IRS 1099 employees 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Number Responding TRUE FALSE Unlicensed1099 employee illegal
135 While both building contractors and trade contractors suppor t licensing HRCs, the gap between "Yes" and "No" appears relatively narrow. With the exception of plumbing contractors, "Yes" responses in the remaining trades exceed the number of "No" res ponses, and as shown in Figure 6 9 57% of Group I respondents favo red estab lishing a HRC license. Figure 6 35 provides a better understanding of which sub group agrees with the concept The bottom line is that, as a whole, 57% of Group I favor licensing HRCs. Figure 6 36 Cross Tab of Questions 6.1 with Question 6 .9 on whether Florida should e st ablish a CHRC l icense Inspectors and Building Officials Cross Tabs The results of the cross tabb ing of Building Officials Q uestion 6 .2.1 with Q uestion 6.2.3(c) shows that Building Officials agree that unlicensed construction is detrimental to Florida's homeowners. In an e ffort to thwart unlicensed activity prosecute unlicensed contractors 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 HVAC Alarm System Contractor Building Contractors Electrical Contractors Plumbing Contractors Residential Contractors Roofing Contractors Number Responding Yes No
136 initiate unannounced random sting operations and sweeps throughout t he state as discussed in Chapter 4 Figure 6 3 7 shows almost all the Building Officials surveyed agree d that unlicensed construction negatively impacts homeow homeowners would benefit if Florida establishes a CHRC license. Based on the cross tab question s in this section and in conjunction with the responses to the key quest ion s of this study, Building Officials appear to be very much in favor of establishing a CHRC in Florida (Figure 6 36 ) Figure 6 3 7 Cross Tab s Question 6 2. 1 with Question 6.2.3(a) on whether u nlicensed construction is detrimental to Florida Home Repair Cross Tabs The results of cross ta bbing Q uestion 3.1 w ith Question 3.11 shows establishment of a CHRC seems plausible. Question 3.1 reflects those Group III m embers who recently needed the services of a HRC wh ile Question 3.11 indicates G roup III 's acceptance o f the concept of establishing a CHRC. The sid e by side 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 Strongly Disagree (1) 2 3 4 Strongly Agree (5) Number Responding City Building Official County Building Official DBPR Official Private Building Official Other
137 c omparison of the responses to Question 3.1 and 3.11 sh ow s that the majority of those responding to Question 3.1 have needed the services of a HRC and that the majority of those responding to Question 3.11 favor the establishment of a C HRC license in Florida. The importance of this Cross Tab is to illustrate that the demand for the HRC services exists and that the demand may be partially satisfied by the creation of a CHRC license category under Florida Statute 489. Today, the demand is somewhat being satisfied by unlicensed contractors Creating the license may be an alternative to Homeowners seeking the services of unlicensed contractors to make minor repairs. C ross tabbing Question 3. 1 with Question 3 .11 may be the best indicator of Group III 's interest in establishing a CHRC Figure 6 3 8 Cross tab of Question 3.1 with Question 3.11 on whether Florida should establish a CHRC license Nex t Chapter 7 will provide a summary and conclusion of the data collected throughout this study. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 Have You Needed A HRC In The Last Five Years Should Florida Establish A CHRC License Number Responding "Yes "No"
138 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION The purpose of the study is to determine whether Florida should establish a Certified Home Rep air Contractors License or a CHRC. Comparisons were made between the word registered, and certified, as they pertain ed to all states and in particular to state licenses under Florida Statute 489. Private companies attempt to create the illusion that a pe rson can become C ertified by joining their company. These companies have no legal authority to establish an type of license recognized by the state. Companies like those depicted in Appendix A offer Certification but the C ertification only allows the HRC t o state that they are C ertified by that entity. Even if these type s of companies offer some sort of training, the HRC will be precluded from performing any work that requires a Florida license. Companies that offer to C ertify a HRC mislead the person bein g C ertified by stating that the HRC is now C ertified for such things as, among others, minor plumbing repairs, minor electrical repairs, minor roofing repairs. In reality, there is noting a private company can do to certify a HRC to legally do the work the company c ertifies them to perform. Companies offering to C ertify HRCs actually contribute to the problem of unlicensed activity in Florida. By misleading both the HRC and the public that the HRC is Certified, these companies could actually be guilty of a iding and abetting unlicensed activity. Both the HRC and the consumer should be leery of a HRC stating that they are Certified. The Department of Business and Professional Regulations continues to try to locate individuals and companies that operate and c ontract to engage in unlicensed
139 activity. By conducting Sweeps and Stings DBPR is making some headway in reducing the number of people working without a license or beyond the scope of their license. Although DBPR continues to see to it that these people a re arrested and prosecut ed for unlicensed activity, arrest s and prosecution s are far less than the number of people involved in un licensed work Licensing HRC will provide additional revenue to the state and legitimize the HRC industry in Florida, thereby assisting in the reduction of the number of unlicensed people in Florida. Currently no US state offer s a Certified Home Repair Contractors License. Some states allow HRCs simply because they do not regulate any type of construction. In can contract to make repairs without being Registered or Certified by the state. However, even states that appear to be HRC friendly may impose restriction by requiring Trade Contractors to be licensed in their area. Additionally, even if the state does n ot require HRC licensure, the individual wanting to establish a HRC business must also verify that the county or municipality does not impose restrictions limiting the HRC. The study shows that currently, no state in the United States offers a Certified Ho me Repair Contractors License. As the Question presented in this study is to determine whether Florida should implement a CHRC license under Florida Statute 489, the results of three distinct Group surveys were analyzed. The following conclusions were deri ved from the surveys. Group I Contractors and Subcontractors A variety of contractors were presented with a 13 question survey. The results of the survey were thoroughly reviewed in Chapter 6. Based on the survey responses the majority of the contractors responding to the survey were in favor of establishi ng a
140 CHRC License. Even though the majority of Group I was in agreement with adding a CHRC license under Florida Statute 489, the ir approval did not come without additional restrictions. The survey offer ed some limitations on what a HRC should be allowed to do and Group I was basically in agreement with the allowable restrictions, the majority of Group I agreed that additional restrictions should be imposed. At this point, the only conclusion that can be made is that Group I endorses the concept of establishing a CHRC. The next step will be to establish the prerequisites, create testing procedures and to determine the limits of a CHRC license. Group II Building Officials Building Officials are in favor of anything that will reduce unlicensed activity in Florida. Unlicensed activity is detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of Florida citizens and Group II is in favor of implementation of a CHRC License under FS Â§489 to accomplish that task. Group II under Florida Statute 489 Group III Homeowners This Group will benefit from the inclusion of a CHRC licensee in Florida becaus e they will be able to hire repair persons to make minor repairs with the knowledge that the person making the repair is properly licensed. Group III currently has no assurance ce. They do not know if the person has the qualifications to make the repairs, or if they can legally execute the work they were hired to accomplish.
141 ely to be dissatisfied with an work and mos t have had problems with HRC s that the HRC is not licensed but the y also may not know that the work the homeowner wants repaired requires a license. aiding and abetting unlicensed activity but they may not realize when the y hire a HRC that the repair they are seeking requires licensure and therefore they may not know that they are aiding and abetting unlicensed activity. The survey also shows that there are p enalties for aiding and abetting unlicensed work. Cross tabs were used to compare certain aspects of the study within each Group. additional insight supporting the hypothesis When taken as a whole, reviewing all background issues, the impact unlicensed activity has on Florida's citizens, the ramifications of unlicensed activity, the desire for the state to limit unlicensed activity, and the results of the surveys, the researche r con cludes that implementation of a certified home repair contractor's license under Florida Statute 489 should be established thereby confirming the hypothesis.
142 CHAPTER 8 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH This study concentrated on three particular Gr oup s of survey respondents that could be potentially affected if Florida establishes a Certified Home Repair Contractor license. Group I, Contractors and Subcontractors, Group II Building Officials and Group III, Homeowners, appeared to support the conclu sion of this study that Florida should establish a CHRC license category. The responses to the questions submitted to the three G roups are believed to be indicative of the total population within each Group but additional surveys within each Group may yie ld a different result. Given unlimited funds and additional time, the three surveys would have included more questions to help defer any ambiguities which may have developed from the existing surveys. Additional information should also be obtained from the CLIB and other construction licensing boards. Trade organizations like the Homebuilders Association, Roofing Contractors Association and the Air Conditioning Contractors Association should be consulted and provided an opportunity to provide a different po int of view. Limitin g what a CHRC will be allowed to do is key to the success of establishing the license. Failing to limit the scope of what a CHRC can legally do will negate the purpose for having ot her licensed trades. Allowing a C HRC unlimited licensi ng privileges for minor work blurs the line differentiating HRC's from licensed trade contractors. If the creation of the license category is possible, it is very important that the scope of the CHRC be well established. It is suggested that peer Group s fr om Group I be established to discuss, and provide limits for each license category defined in Chapter 3. Each peer Group should consist of members of the specific license types defined in Chapter 3.
143 Similarly Group II should also establish a peer Group to review and limit the CHRC's scope of work. This Group should be comprised of a proportionate number of members from the four basic building official types depicted in Figure 6 14. Likewise, a peer Group from Group III should be created based on income, loc ation, age and familiarity with Florida's licensing process and procedures to assist in the development of the limitations imposed on CHRC's. Other potential survey sources include, but are not limited to, other governmental agencies, insurance companies realtors, property owners, educational facilities and bankers. Work performed by CHRC's can also have an impact on these Group s. In particular, educational facilities might be better at defining the scope of work for a CHRC than a homeowner and be less bi ased than members from Group I. If the additional data gathered from surveys, peer Groups other governmental agencies, insurance companies, realtors, property owners, educational facilities and bankers favor the hypothesis of establishing a CHRC in Flori da the concept should be presented to a Florida Representative If the Representative is in agreement, a bill will be drafted, a bill number filed and HRCs ultimately be added to Florida S tatute 489 as an additional license category.
144 APPENDIX A SCREEN S HOTS Appendix A is a screenshot of a company that offers to certify a handyman as a professional. Although certification can be issued by this Corporation, Florida does not recognize, or license, handyman and therefore the certification by this Corporat ion may mislead Florida's homeowners into believing that the certification is issued by the state. Although there is no legal issue here, homeowners should be aware that Florida does not currently license or certified handyman. Also, under Florida law hand yman are not considered professionals.
145 The United handyman Association is another example of the Corporation offering to license and/or certify a handyman. No matter the language and any assurance that background checks will be performed as part of the acceptance process for this Corporation, these companies cannot properly licensed a handyman in Florida.
146 No matter how professional the Internet company looks, or the fact that it professes to be a college offering to certify handyman, there is no certification currently in Florida for a handyman.
147 APPENDIX B SURVEYS Group 1 Home Repair Survey: Contractors and Subcontractors Researchers from the College of Design, Construction, & Planning at the University of Florida are working to better underst home repairs and minor improvements and the people who perform such repairs for a living. As a licensed contractor or subcontractor, we are especially interested in your opinions about commercial home repair work and any experiences your company may have had with anyone who does this type of work, commonly referred to as a Please take a few minutes to complete this survey; the questions should only take about 10 minutes to complete. [Add online compl etion instructions.] You do not have to answer any questions that you do not wish to answer and your responses will be business information. There are no direct risks, be nefits or compensation to you for participating in the study. About Your Company First, we have a few questions about your company. 1. 1. primary business? [single 1.1. 1. Air Conditioning / Heating & Ventilating Contractor 1.1. 2. Al arm System Contractor 1.1. 3. Building Contractor 1.1. 4. Electrical Contractor 1.1. 5. Plumbing Contractor 1.1. 6. Residential Contractor 1.1. 7. Roofing Contractor 1.1. 8. Specialty Contractor 1.1. 9. Other (please describe) 1.1. 10. Not sure 1.1. 11. Pref er not to answer] 1. 2. volume? [single 1.2. 1. Less than $50,000 1.2. 2. $50,000 to $200,000 1.2. 3. $200,001 to $500,000 1.2. 4. More than $500,000 1.2. 5. Not sure 1.2. 6. Prefer not to answer] 1. 3. number of employees? [single
148 1.3. 1. 1 to 5 1.3. 2. 6 to 25 1.3. 3. 26 to 50 1.3. 4. More than 50 1.3. 5. Not sure 1.3. 6. Prefer not to answer] 1. 4. How many years has your company been in business in Florida? [single 1.4. 1. Less than 1 year 1.4. 2. 1 to 5 years 1.4. 3. 6 to 15 years 1.4. 4. 16 to 25 years 1.4. 5. More than 25 years 1.4. 6. Not sure 1.4. 7. Prefer not to answer] Past Experien ces with Home Repair Workers Next we have a few questions about your experiences with home repair workers. 1. 5 Have you ever hired a handyman to work with your company? [YNDR] IF YES: 5A. What types of work have you had a handyman perform for your company? [Please mark all that apply.] [checkbox 1.5. 1. Only work around the office (not on jobs) 1.5. 2. Subcontracted work to a handyman 1.5. 3. A handyman worked with me, or my employees, on contract work for homeowners 1.5. 4 A handyman worked for me as a 1099 employee 1.5. 5. A handyman worked for me as an independent contractor 1.5. 6. Other (please describe) 1.5. 7. Not sure 1.5. 8. Prefer not to answer] 1. 6. How satisfied were you with the work the most recent time you hired a handyman to work for your company? [single 1.6. 1. Completely satisfied 1.6. 2. Somewhat satisfied 1.6. 3. Somewhat dissatisfied 1.6. 4. Completely dissatisfied person who is hired to make limited repairs or minor improvements to homes, such as minor plumbin g, electrical, framing, roofing, or air conditioning repairs.
149 1.6. 5. Not sure 1.6. 6. Prefer not to answer] Laws & Licensing for Home Repair Workers Next, we have a few questions about rules and regulations related to home repair work. Florida laws require that certain types of home repairs and improvements must be accomplished by licensed Florida contractors, while others do not. 1. 7. Please indicate whether you believe each of the following statements is true or false: A. Because 1099 employees are responsible for their own licenses, contractors who hire them are not responsible for their work [TF, DR] B. In the state of Florida, hiring a 1099ed unlicensed employee to do work requiring a license is against the law [TF, DR] C. A certified or registered contractor may legally agree to let another person who is not certified or registered use his/her certification or registration number [TF, DR] 1. 8. Although Florida licenses contractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a Certified Handyman License category for those who make small repairs or minor improve ments to homes? [YNDR] 1. 9. If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do you think should be included? [Please mark all that apply.] [checkbox 1.9. 1. Financial and criminal background screening 1.9. 2. 4 Years of education in the specialty field 1.9. 3. 4 Years of experience in the specialty field 1.9. 4. Economic stability 1.9. 5. Passing score on State administered test in the specialty field 1.9. 6. Continuing educati on classes in the specialty field every 2 years 1.9. 7. 1.9. 8. The applicant must be of good moral character 1.9. 9. The applicant must be at least 18 years old 1.9. 10. Other (please describe) 1.9. 11. Not sure 1.9. 12. Prefer not to answer] 1.10. If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of repairs or improvements do you think should be covered? [Please mark all that apply.] [ch eckbox 1.10. 1. Minor plumbing repairs 1.10. 2. Minor electrical repairs 1.10. 3. Minor carpentry work
150 1.10. 4. Minor roof repairs 1.10. 5. Minor air conditioning work 1.10. 6. Room additions 1.10. 7. Other (please describe) 1.10. 8. Not sure 1.10. 9. Pref er not to answer] 1. 11 If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, should be imposed? [Please mark all that apply.] [checkbox 1. The ha ndyman should be licensed only to do plumbing repairs beyond the plumbing stops; no soldering, or sewer or supply repair or replacement before the plumbing stop. 2. The handyman should be allowed only to install or replace switches, receptacles and fix tures beyond the circuit breaker; the handyman would not be allowed to pull or replace any wire. 3. Roof repairs by a handyman should be limited to areas less than 50 square feet. 4. Air conditioning work by a handyman should be limited to duct cleanin g, coolant recharging, and condensate cleanouts. 5. Additional limits should be defined for each trade specialty area. 6. Other (please describe) 7. Not sure 8. Prefer not to answer] 1. 12 If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handym an License category, would you hire a Licensed Handyman if you could legally subcontract work within the scope of the Handyman License? [YNDR] 1. 13 Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work, contracting, or handyman licensure: [text, DR] Thank you for completing this survey. We appreciate your time and participation.
151 Group II Home repair Survey: Building Officials Researchers from the College of Design, Construction, & Planning at the University of Florida are home repairs and minor improvements and the people who perform such repairs for a living. As a building official or private building inspector, we are especially interested in your opinio ns about commercial home repair work performed by anyone who does this Please take a few minutes to complete this survey; the questions should only take about 5 minutes to complete. [Add online complet ion instructions.] You do not have to answer any questions that you do not wish to answer and your responses will be confidential. information. There are no direct risks, bene fits or compensation to you for participating in the study. About Your Profession First, we have a few questions about your job 2. 1. Which of the following best describes your occupation? 2.1. 1. City Building Official 2.1. 2. County Building Official 2. 1. 3. DBPR Official 2.1. 4. Private Building Inspector 2.1. 5. Other (please describe) 2.1. 6. Not sure 2.1. 7. Prefer not to answer] 2. 2. How many years have you been employed as a building official or private building inspector? [single 2.2. 1. Less t han 1 year 2.2. 2. 1 to 5 years 2.2. 3. 6 to 10 years 2.2. 4. 11 to 15 years 2.2. 5. More than 15 years 2.2. 6. Not sure 2.2. 7. Prefer not to answer] Laws & Licensing for Home Repair Workers Next, we have a few questions about rules and regulations relate d to home repair work.
152 2. 3. Please indicate your level of agreement with each of the following statements using a A Unlicensed construction activity is detrimental to Florida homeowners and small businesses [1 5, DR] B handyman often performs unlicensed construction activity [1 5, DR] C. established a Licensed Handyman categ ory [1 5, DR] D. Establishing a Licensed Handyman category would be economically beneficial to the State of Florida [1 5, DR] 2. 4. If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do y ou think should be included? [Please mark all that apply.] 2.4. 1. Financial and criminal background screening 2.4. 2. 4 Years of education in the specialty field 2.4. 3. 4 Years of experience in the specialty field 2.4. 4. Economic stability 2.4. 5. Passi ng score on State administered test in the specialty field 2.4. 6. Continuing education classes in the specialty field every 2 years 2.4 7 2.4. 8. The applicant must be of good moral character 2.4. 9. The applicant must be at least 18 years old 2.4. 10. Other (please describe) 2.4. 11. Not sure 2.4. 12. Prefer not to answer] 2. 5.If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following types of small repairs or minor improvements do you think should be covered? [Please mark all that apply.] 2.5. 1. Minor plumbing repairs 2.5. 2. Minor electrical repairs 2.5. 3. Minor carpentry work 2.5. 4. Minor roof repairs person who is hired to make limited repairs or minor improvements to homes, such as minor plumbing, electrical, f raming, roofing, or air conditioning repairs.
153 2.5. 5. Minor air conditioning work 2.5. 6. Room additions 2.5. 7. Other (please describe) 2.5. 8. Not sure 2.5. 9. Prefer not to answer] 2. 6. If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which should be imposed? [Please mark all that apply.] 2.6. 1 The handyman should be licensed only to do plumbing repairs beyond the plumbing stops; no soldering, or sewer or supply repair or replacement before the plumbing stop. 2. 6.2. The handyman sho uld be allowed only to install or replace switches, receptacles and fixtures beyond the circuit breaker; the handyman would not be allowed to pull or replace any wire. 2.6. 3. Roof repairs by a handyman should be limited to areas less than 50 squa re feet. 2.6. 4. Air conditioning work by a handyman should be limited to duct cleaning, coolant recharging, and condensate cleanouts. 2.6. 5. Additional limits should be defined for each trade specialty area. 2.6. 6. Other (please describe) 2.6. 7. Not sure 2.6. 8. Prefer not to answer] 2. 7. If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, should a Licensed Handyman be allowed to legally subcontract work from other licensed contractors (as defined in Florida Statute Cha pter 489.105)? [YNDR] 2. 8. Although Florida licenses contractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a Certified Handyman License category for those who make small repairs or minor impr ovements to homes? [YNDR] 2. 9.Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work, contracting, or handyman licensure: [text, DR] Thank you for completing this survey. We appreciate your time and participation.
154 Group 3 Hom e Repair Survey Past Experiences with Home Repair Workers First, we have a few questions about your experiences with home repair workers. 3. 1. In the last five years, have you needed the services of a handyman to make small repairs or minor improvements to your home? 3.1. 1 Yes 3.1.2 No 3.1. 3 Not sure 3.1. 4 Prefer not to answer 3. 2. In the last five years, have you hired a handyman to make small repairs or minor improvements to your home? 3.2. 1 Yes Please go to Quest ion 3 3.2. 2 No Please go to Question 7 3.2. 3 Not sure Please go to Question 7 3.2. 4 Prefer not to answer Please go to Question 7 3. 3. Which of the following types of repairs/improvemen ts have you hired a handyman to complete in your home in the past five years? [Please mark all that apply.] 3.3. 1 Minor electrical repairs (like replacing a ceiling fan or an electrical outlet) 3.3. 2 Repairs or replacement of a plumbing faucet 3.3. 3 Cleaning air conditioning system air ducts 3.3. 4 Pressure washi 3.3. 5 Constructing a wood deck 3.3. 6 Exterior or interior painting 3.3. 7 Replacing an exterior door 3.3. 8 Installing replacement windows 3.3. 9 Other (please describe): 3.3. 10 Not sure 3.3. 11 Prefer not t o answer 3. 4. How satisfied were you with the work the most recent time you hired a handyman to make small repairs or minor improvements to your home? 3.4. 1 Completely satisfied 3.4. 2 Somewhat satisfied 3.4. 3 Somewhat dissatisfied 3.4. 4 Completely d issatisfied person who is hired to make limited repairs or minor improvements to homes, such as minor plumbing, electrical, framing, roofing, or air conditioning repairs.
155 3.4. 5 Not sure 3.4. 6 Prefer not to answer 3. 5 Have you ever had any kind of problem with a handyman you hired to make small repairs or minor improvements to your home? 3.5. 1 Yes 3.5. 2 No 3.5. 3 Not sure 3.5. 4 Prefer not to answer 3. 6 Was the handyman you most recently hired to make small repairs or minor improvements to your home licensed in the state of Florida? 3.6. 1 Yes 3.6. 2 No 3.6. 3 Not sure 3.6. 4 Prefer not to answer Laws & Licensing for Home Repair Workers Next, we have a few questions about rules and regulations related to home repair work. Florida laws require that certain types of home repairs and improvements must be accomplished by licensed Florida contractors, while others do not. 3.7 Please indicate whether you believe each of the following statements is true or false: True False 3.7. 1. Replacing a leaky faucet washer requires a licensed plumbing contractor O O 3.7. 2. Replacing a ceiling fan requires a licensed electrical contractor O O 3.7. 3. Installing a new front door requires a licensed general contractor O O 3.7. 4. Replacing a dishwasher requires a licensed plumbing contractor O O 3.7. 5. Exterior pressure washing requires a licensed painting contractor O O 3.7. 6. Interior painting requires a lic ensed painting contractor O O 3.7. 7. Constructing or remodeling a wood deck requires a licensed contractor O O 3.7. 8. Only licensed contractors can pull building permits for home repairs O O 3.7. 9. Minor repairs costing less than $1,000 do not requir e a permit O O
156 3.8 Which of the following do you believe are required by Florida law in order to that apply.] 3.8. 1 Financial and criminal background screening 3.8. 2 4 Years of education in the specialty field 3.8. 3 4 Years of experience in the specialty field 3.8. 4 Economic stability 3.8. 5 Passing score on State administered test in the specialty field 3.8. 6 Continuing education classes in the specialty field every 2 years 3.8. 7 3.8. 8 Not sure 3.8. 9 Prefer not to answer 3.9 Which of the following legal penalties do you believe apply to hiring an unlicensed person to make small repairs or minor improvement s on your home? [Please mark all that apply.] 3.9. 1 You may be held liable for aiding and abetting unlicensed activity 3.9. 2 You may be fined up to $5,000 3.9. 3 You may be charged with a criminal offense 3.9. 4 You may be charged with a felony 3.9. 5 Yo u may be arrested and spend time in jail 3.10 Under which of the following circumstances, if any, would you consider hiring an unlicensed person to make small repairs or minor improvements to your home? [Please mark all that apply.] 3.10. 1 None (woul d not hire an unlicensed person) 3.10. 2 If you were unaware that the person was unlicensed 3.10. 3 If you were unaware that the types of repairs/improvements required a license 3.10. 4 If the cost was significantly less 3.10. 5 If the person was a friend, acquaintance, or previously known to you 3.10. 6 If the person was performing the repairs for free 3.10. 7 If licensed contractors were unavailable when the repairs were necessary 3.10. 8 Not sure 3.10. 9 Prefer not to answer 3. 1 1 Although Florida lic enses contractors, currently there is no handyman license. Do you believe it would be beneficial for Florida to establish a Certified Handyman License category for those who make small repairs or minor improvements to homes? 3.11. 1 Yes 3.11. 2 No 3.1 1. 3 Not sure 3.11. 4 Prefer not to answer
157 3. 1 2 If the state of Florida were to establish a Certified Handyman License category, which of the following qualifications do you think should be included? [Please mark all that apply.] 3.12. 1 Financial and criminal background screening 3.12. 2 4 Years of education in the specialty field 3.12. 3 4 Years of experience in the specialty field 3.12. 4 Economic stability 3.12. 5 Passing score on State administered test in the specialty field 3.12. 6 Continuing edu cation classes in the specialty field every 2 years 3.12. 7 3.12. 8 Not sure 3.12. 9 Prefer not to answer About You Finally please answer rom all different kinds o f Florida homeowners. 3. 1 3 What is your gender? O Female O Male O Prefer not to say O 3. 1 4 In what month and year were you born? Month: Year: 3.15 What is your annual household income before ta xes? O Less than $10,000 O Between $10,000 and $24,999 O Between $25,000 and $49,999 O Between $50,000 and $74,999 O Between $75,000 and $99,999 O $100,000 or more O Not sure O Prefer not to say 3.16 Do you own your home or rent? O Own O Rent O Oth er O Prefer not to say 3.17 Are you a business owner? O Yes O No O Prefer not to say 3.18 What is your 5 digit zip code? O Prefer not to say 3.19 Are you, or is anyone else in your household involved in any of the following businesses: const ruction, contracting (general, electrical, plumbing), home repair/improvement, or property management? O Yes O No O Not sure O Prefer not to say
158 Please feel free to share any other comments you have about home repair work or handyman licensure in the sp ace below. Thank you for completing this survey. Please mail your survey in the enclosed postage paid return envelope and send it to us at your earliest convenience. We appreciate your time and participation.
159 APPENDIX C LETTER TO STATES University o f Florida Research Paper HANDYMAN LICENSING IN FLORIDA January 12, 2013 Dear Construction Licensing agency: I am currently working on a paper to determine if there is a need to create a State Certified Handyman License in Florida. By Handyman, I am ref erring to an individual that can repair, including but not limited to, some plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, roofing, carpentry, tile, flooring etc. Currently Florida does not offer a Handyman License. Consequently The State of Florida often prosecu tes people for unlicensed activity when that person might have the requisite skills, education and training to perform the work. There is no doubt that some of these people do not have the skills, business acumen or insurance to properly repair the work th ey contract to do. The key question is; if a Handyman License was available would it benefit the citizens of the state? My research paper is attempting to answer the question regarding the need to create a Handyman License in Florida. To that end, I am asking for you assistance. Does your state offer a Handyman License, and if so, what are the qualifications for, and scope of work the licensee can perform? Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Robert A. Lash Please direct any correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
160 APPENDIX D STATE BY STATE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS State Required license or registration Required Contract Provisions Prohibited Acts (1) Contractors Monetary Exemption (2) Alabama No M,E,P $50,000/none Alaska No M,E $10,000/none Arizona No $1,000/none Arkansas L M,E $20,000/none California No $500/none Colorado No M,E,P none/none Connecticut R M,E,P none/none Delaware R M,E,P none/none Florida No No M ,E,P Georgia Yes All $0/0 Hawaii No M,E,P $1000/none Idaho R M,E,P none/none Illinois No M,E,P none/none Indiana No Yes P none/none Iowa R M,E,P none/2000 Kansas No M,E,P $0/0 Kentucky No M,E,P $0/0 Louisiana R M,E,P $75000/none Maine No $3000/none Maryland L M,E,P none/none Massachusetts R All $0/0 Michigan No All $0/0 Minnesota No M,E,P $15000/15000 Mississippi No Yes M,E,P $100000/none Missouri No All $0/0 Montana No M,E ,P $2500/none Nebraska No M,E,P $5000/5000 Nevada No All $0/0 New Hampshire R M,E,P none/none New Jersey R E,P none/none New Mexico C M,E,P $72000/72000 New York No E,P none/none North Carolina No $30000/none North Dakota No E,P $2000/none Ohio No M,E,P none/none Oklahoma No M,E,P none/none Oregon C Yes $500/none Pennsylvania No M,E,P $500/none Rhode Island No M,E,P $500/none South Carolina No M,E,P $200/none South Dakota No M,E ,P none/none Tennessee L E,P $3,000 $25,000/none Texas R E,P none/none Utah No M,E,P $3000/none Vermont No M,E,P none/none Virginia L M,E,P $1000 75000/100000
161 Washington No E,P $2000/none State Required license or regi stration Required Contract Provisions Prohibited Acts (1) Contractors Monetary Exemption (2) West Virginia R E,P $2500/none Wisconsin No E,P none/none Wyoming No E none/none 1) Prohibited Acts M= HVAC E= Electrical P= Plumbing All= M,E,P and all others (2)Maximum contract allowed by Statute and maximum a HRC can earn per year
162 APPENDIX E STATE CONTACT INFORMATION Alabama email@example.com gov Alaska firstname.lastname@example.org Arizona http : //www.azroc.gov/contacts menu html Arkansas contractors.licensing.board@arkan sas.gov Cal i fornia dca@dca ca gov Colorado email@example.com Connectic u t info@ct clic.com Delaware firstname.lastname@example.org Flor i da DBPR of Florida Georgia http : //sos.georgia.gov/plb/contractors/default htm Hawaii email@example.com Idaho ibol@ibol idaho.gov Illinois Only License is for r oofing Indiana firstname.lastname@example.org Iowa email@example.com Kansas sos@sos ks.gov Kentucky mike firstname.lastname@example.org Louisiana adminis email@example.com Maine plumbe r s board@maine gov Maryland op@dllr state.md.us. Massachuset ts Email sent Michigan LARAcom@michigan.gov M i nnesota firstname.lastname@example.org M i ssissippi email@example.com Missouri profreg@pr mo.g ov Montana firstname.lastname@example.org Nebraska email@example.com Nevada firstname.lastname@example.org New Hampshire david.rousseau@ag r .nh.gov New Jersey askconsumeraffairs@lps state.n j .us New Mexico www.rld.state.nm.us New York http://www dos.ny.gov/about/contact.asp North Carolina email@example.com North Dakota sosadl firstname.lastname@example.org Ohio dic email@example.com Oklahoma No license Oregon firstname.lastname@example.org r. us Pen n sylvania RA BPOA@pa.gov Rhode Island email@example.comLgov South Carolin a contactllr@llr sc gov South Dakota firstname.lastname@example.org Tennessee Contractors Home lmprovement@TN.Gov Texas w ww.license.state.tx us/contact.htm Utah email@example.com
163 APPENDIX F WHAT CAN A HRC DO
16 4 APPENDIX G : DBPR ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
165 APPENDIX H : POSITIVE AND NEG ATIVE WRITTEN RESPONSES a certified handyman would be a cost burden but would protect homeowners especially seniors A handyman license category would make it more affordable for home owners that need minor projects completed and should reduce unlicensed contracting. a handyman should be very versed on code issues in the field in which he is working, and his CEU. time should stress code issues just like a regular licensed person. A licensed ,trained, insured handyman is better protection for the public than what we have now. A LICENSED CONTRACTOR HAS WORKED HARD TO GET A CERTIFED LICENSE IT WOULD NOT BE FAIR TO ALL OF US. ONE MAN DOES NOT KNOW EVERYTHING IT WOULD BE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO THE SUB A licensed contractor is alway s important when one has work done on their largest investment. However if the license is to hard to get it will discourage people who can do this kind of work. In this economy, part timers and retirees need easy access to this kind of license should it b e required. A requirement that should be incorporated into the handyman licensure is the requirements for permits so their work can be inspected for compliance as other contractors are required. A state "Handyman" license is a very bad idea. This lic ense would be abused and take work away from bona fide and legitimate contractors from all trades. A well defined scope of permitted work is essential. Also, the ability to regulate the trade and make handymen accountable is of paramount importance. Adding a Handyman License would help define the qualifications. I believe there is a need for Handymen, however ,any examination or licensure process should not be so cumbersome that it would prohibit those with experience as a handyman from qualifying. All electrical work should be excluded All these types of work have licenses use licensed contractors Allow this field to be lightly regulated Allowances should be made for prior experience in the field in place of educational training any an d all types of minor repair except electrical, plumbing, air Question 1.9: Building Officials Written Responses Yes No
166 conditioning, structural or roofing. These repairs are not "minor" at any degree Any individual doing work for someone or at their house should be licensed. I believe it's only fair to the hom eowner and allows peace of mind. Licensing helps weed out many of the cracker jack people that like to think they are qualified to perform services. Anyone what wants to do this type of work should be tested the same as any other state issued license ho lder. applicants should work under a licensed contractor for 2 years prior to taking exam. handymen often exceed scope of work As a Code Enforcement Officer I have issued many Stop Work Orders for Handymen performing work requiring permits. By being unlicensed, inexperience, uncertified, misleading and passing themselves off as a jack of all trades to the customer is not what the code is about. A Handyman should be licensed in all trades if they want to perform that trade. as building systems incre ase in complexity and code requirements, only licensed tradespersons should be allowed to perform this work. The major problem with "minor" repairs is establishment of limitations of scope of work. At times Handymen will make improper and/or dangerous r epairs to buildings, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems. better education of them as a trade, and inspection of their work would be beneficial to the citizens of Florida. They would also be more accountable and capable of disciplinary actions. bad idea all around, homeowners don't know a good job from a bad one work will be done without permits and not to code, look how bad it is now this will only make it worse, handymen will be competing against licensed contractors, the homeowner will tak e the lowest bid and the job will reflect it. basic license. home repair would protect the homeowner Beneficial to FL, obviously. The state would get fees but I don't think it would be a good idea. Better to license them and have some control than to let them do anything they want as they do now. By allowing a Handy Man license the state will be able to hold them more accountable. Cap the cost of work allowed to do contractors already are losing work to unqualified workers for low pay th is would lower wages even more Contractors should provide repairs and services using journeyman with certificate of competency and continuing education, it should be a enforced crime to utilize 'handyman' to perform repairs on homes or
167 commercial. time after time I see the new owner of a property find they have purchased code violations performed by prior handyman's work. currently no one is checking any work done by a handyman so the chance poor, shoddy and or dangerous work is performed is great. El evating this "trade" to a licensed category would allow the better skilled handymen to show they have the knowledge and experience to do an adequate job for homeowners. DEFINE THE MEANING OF THE WORD "MINOR REPAIRS" IN EACH DISCIPLINE. dollar limit o n permit work would be beneficial don't do it Education requirement should allow for 100% verifiable field experience since there are no handyman specific courses or degrees available. They could include sworn statements/affidavits from customers or licensed contractors. Even as an inspector I've allowed a guy in my Mom's mobile home park to do this type work on her home. Old guy, did a good job for a very reasonable price. There is a need for this level work. Regulation should be kept to a min imum. A dollar limit should be imposed, say $2,500, same as notice of commencement. A/C: allow repairs to exist ducts. Everyone has the right to work. this could be a win win for everyone if structured properly and enforcement could be better performe d by the State over local influences. For protection of property owners it should be a license for these type of individuals that are making small repairs that are not handle by contractors. Greater enforcement of existing unlicensed contractor laws would be a better route. H Man should be licensed and required to have con education for continued licensure. Handy men should have Ins and knowledge of trade handyman are not qualified to do any skilled tradesman's work, you should be looking at requiring journeyman licensing and not handyman licensing Handyman licenses should be limited to existing buildings, non structural repairs and remodels only. Some counties provide for such licenses now but are usually not reciprocal. I had an installa tion and repair license with Marion County Florida for 14 years. Handyman licensure can easily be abused by an Individual to morph into doing work beyond their capabilities into major repairs or be used to defraud home owners by doing shoddy repairs.
168 Handyman should be allowed to make minor electrical modifications i.e.: installing ceiling fans. Handyman should be licensed with a specialty license and mandate it to carry liability and workers comp. insurance. Handyman should be limited to single family home, where the. Improvements do not affect other units in case something goes wrong. Handyman should be required to obtain a building permit for all work. handyman should not be allowed to work on anything that's life threatening such as ele ctrical or mechanical or fire protection. Handyman should not be allowed. This is what you have contractors for. We need to keep handyman out of homes/business and especially from going outside their scope of work. Handyman should not be charging air conditioning systems unless they are properly refrigerant licensed. Handyman should only be allowed to do maintenance work. Certain items such as AC recharging is governed by Federal law & replacement of electric outlets have special requirements of th e NEC (national electric code). Handymen must demonstrate their knowledge of these requirements. Handyman should only do maintenance work, no new work, no remodeling, no additions. Limited scope repairs and maintenance ok. The licensing requirements sho uld be as strict as those for inspectors (FS 468). We have a local Building Maintenance License (no plumbing, gas, HVAC or electrical work) and the licensee often promotes it as more. Handyman type repairs should be handled as a private contract between the two affected parties without governmental involvement. handyman work should be limited to painting, cleaning and small repair of doors, windows. handyman work starts as small jobs but once there this needs fixed that needs fixed and the next thi ng you know you have a job that should have been engineered and plans review done. With this license at least we know where these people are working and what they are suppose to be doing. Permits and inspections should be required. Handyman's should hav e opportunity to get education on respective trades of interest handymen should have to pass a proficiency test Handymen would be better regulated at the county level and should be restricted to small electrical, plumbing, mechanical trade work. They should be allowed to do painting, carpentry, cement repair, limited roof repair, minor drywall, etc. Having a certified handyman would help consumers to verify qualifications and provide a lower cost alternative for minor repairs I see licensed cont ractors hire unskilled people to do work and I've seen handymen do better work than contractors. We need better
169 training and less special interest groups writing building code. I think any contractor working in the state of Florida should be licensed. This would serve to somewhat level the playing field for those contractor who try to do the right thing and get licensed as well as elevating the handyman to another level where he could better compete with other contractors. I think Florida has enough license categories to cover every job. Handyman should be limited to painting and minor repairs less than $1,000 I think it's a good idea to certify a license handyman, because I'm sure what goes on out there they are doing work outside the scope.
170 LIST OF REFERENCES American Research Group, Inc. (2014). Retrieved from www.americanresearchgroup.com/ Association of Certified Handyman Professionals ACHP. (2011 December 28) Retrieved March 10, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJcPccUgUSA Bendrick, T. S. (1992). A comprehensive study of the construction contractor licensing system in Florida (Unpublished master's thesis). University Of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Bova, C. (200 9, March 26). Unlicensed contractors a bad bet. Retrieved from http://www.marinij.com/news/ci_3650547 BSO: Sting Nets Arrests Of 19 Unlicensed Contractors [Television broadcast]. (2012, October 18). Miami, FL: CBS 4. Collins Gomez, K. (2010, January). D BPR Increased Unlicensed Construction Enforcement Efforts; Electronic Submission Could Improve Complaint Processing. Retrieved from http://www.oppaga.state.fl.us/MonitorDocs/Reports/pdf/1003rpt.pdf Construction business management: What every construction contractor, builder & subcontractor needs to know (2006). Amsterdam, NL: Butterworth Heinemann Curtis, H. (2011, August 17). Unlicensed contractors busted in St. Cloud sting. Orlando Sentinel [Orlando]. Retrieved from http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/10/1 8/exclusive bso sting nets arrests of 19 unlicensed contractors/ DBPR and TPD sting UL Contractors. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/os/news/DBPRandTPDstingULContractors.ht ml DBPR Professions Construction Industry Licensing B oard Codes. ( 2014 ). Retrieved January 5, 2013, from http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/cilb/codes.html DBPR Sweeps Tampa Contractors. ( 2014 .). Retrieved January 5, 2013,from http://myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/os/news/DBPRSweepsTampa Contractors.ht ml Definition of Occupation and Class Codes. (2014). Retrieved from www.myfloridalicense.comldbpr/pro/newsletters/CILBNews.htm1 De Leon, J. (2013, December 12). Unlicensed Contractor Sting Nets 9 Arrests in Manatee County. Bradenton Herald. [Bradenton]. Retrieved from http://www.bradenton.com/2013/12/05/4871757/unlicensed contractor sting nets.html
171 Department Of Business And Professional Regulations Home Page. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/homeinlindex.html Dillman, D. (2000). Mail and internet surveys: The tailored design method New York: Wiley. Dudley, F. (2007). The Impact of Unlicensed Contractor Activities. The Florida Bar 81 (11), 17 18. Durbin, P. (2013). Certified Handyman A Cut Above the Rest. Retrieved from www.certified handym Estell, R. (2009, July 1). Stories of Unlicensed Contractors getting busted. Retrieved from thepoolpros.com/stories unlicensed contractors getting busted Ezi neArticles Submission Submit Your Best Quality Original Articles For Massive Exposure, Ezine Publishers Get 25 Free Article Reprints. (2014). Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/ Fluker, A. (2009, July 17). State Investigates 31 Unlicensed Contracto rs. Orlando Business Journal [Orlando]. Gartenlaub, D. ( 2014 ). Contractor Beware: The Pitfalls of Florida Construction Licensing Requirements Site K Construction Zone. Retrieved from http://www.site kconstructionzone.com/?p=7469 Galoustian, E. (2011, June 30). Gainesville Florida Home Repair Service. Retrieved from http://www.gainesvillehomerepairservice.com/ Giunta, E. (2013, January 25). Search | Sunshine State News. Retrieved from http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/florida supreme court contrac tors unlicensed no relief contract violations Handyman Certificate Program Continuing Education. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.york.cuny.edu/conted/certprograms/handyman certificate program Handyman Occupational License. (2010, March 10). Retrieve d from http://www.longwoodfl.org/filestorage/102/155/1232/handyman_notice.pdf International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI). (2014, October 1). Retrieved October 1, 2014, from http://www.nachi.org Kometa S. T., Olomolaiye P. O., & Harris F. C. (1995). An evaluation of clients' needs and responsibilities in the construction process. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management doi:10.1108/eb021003
172 Leiby, L (2014). Florida Construction Law Manual, 2013 2014 ed. (8th ed.) St. Paul, MN: West Group. Lindberg, A. (2012, June 17). Unlicensed Contractors on the Rise | TheLedger.com. Retrieved from http://www.theledger.com/article/20120617/NEWS/120619393 Little, C., & Little, C. H. (2009). Updates for A State by State Guide t o Construction and Design Law: Current Statutes and Practices, Second Edition. Retrieved from http://www.abanet.org/abapubs/design Meyer, G, Caeciabeve, C, Stem, R, Parker, B, Wright, C, Smith, G. (2010),"3 rd Annual Construction Law Institute 2010" The Florida Bar Continuing Education, Orlando, Florida, ppI.S 14.21 News4Jax.com Staff (Producer). (2014, April 29). 14 arrested in unlicensed contractor sting [Television broadcast]. Jacksonville, FL: WJXT. Nine arrested in unlicensed contractor stin g in Pasco County [Television broadcast]. (2013, May 6). Holiday, FL: WFTS. Pogue, P. (2010, May 14). Tampa area Contractors face Licensing 'labyrinth'. Retrieved from http://www.angieslist.com/articles/tampa area Protecting Yourself Against Unlicensed Air Conditioning Contractors in Florida | Berkun Air Blog | Trane A/C Experts [Web log post]. (2014). Retrieved from http://berkunair.com /blog/protecting yourself against unlicensed air conditioning contractors in florida/ Rory, L. (2014, March 6). Opinion analysis: Justice Kagan writes a primer on aiding and abetting law : SCOTUSblog [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.scotusblog.c om/2014/03/opinion analysis justice kagan writes a primer on aiding and abetting law/ Ross, J. (2012, September 20). States Cracking Down on Unlicensed Home Improvement Contractors Hit & Run : Reason.com. Retrieved from http://reason.com/blog/2012/09/20 /states cracking down on unlicensed home R.S. Means Company. (2007). Repair & remodeling cost data, 2008: Commercial/residential Kingston, MA: R. S. Means Co. Sandross, W. (2013, April 13). Jacob's Ladder. Retrieved from https://www.handymanaa.org/ Se rvices that require a license Construction Contractors. (2014, March 10) Retrieved from http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/pro/division/Servicesthatrequirealicense_Cons truction.html
173 Sidibe, A. (2012, July 14). Unlicensed contractors nailed in sting. R etrieved from www.chronicleonline.com/content/unlicensed Smith, F. (2009). Licensing. In Florida contractor's manual: 2009 edition Coconut Creek, FL: Associated Builders and Contractors Florida East Coast Chapter, Inc Sting Nabs Unlicensed Contractors [Television broadcast]. (2014, February 6). Tallahassee, FL: WCTV. Tall, T. (2013, March 22). 10 unlicensed contractors, 8 from Flagler, arrested in a sting operation. Retrieved from http://flaglerlive.com/52062/flagler unlicensed contractors/ The U.H.A | United Handyman Association "Excellence Expected". (2014, March 10). Retrieved from http://theuha.net/ United Handyman Association | LinkedIn. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/company/united handyman association Unlicensed contractors b usted in Cape sting operation [Television broadcast]. (2012, June 6). Orlando, FL: NBC WESH. Unlicensed Home Improvement Contractor Ordered to Pay $65,000 and Spend30 Days in Jail News Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR). ( 2014 ). Ret rieved from http://www.dllr.state.md.us/whatsnews/mhiccont.shtml WJXT Staff (Producer). (2012, September 12). Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrests 11 unlicensed contractors in undercover sting operation [Television broadcast]. Jacksonville, FL: WJXT. Worpel, H. (2012, April 23). Retrieved from http://www.achrnews.com/articles/119837 unlicensed activity threatens credible contractors Statutes A LA C ODE Â§ 34 8 2 (2009) Alachua County, Fl., Ordinance 07 03 (2007) A RIZ R EV S TAT A NN Â§ 32.1.110 (West 2014) A RIZ R EV S TAT A NN Â§ 32.1121.A.14 ( West 2014) C AL Bus. Prof. Code Â§ 7040 7054 (West 2014) CONN. GEN. STAT. Â§ 21 (2014)
174 DEL.CODE ANN 25. Â§ 2503 (West 2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 20.165 (2013) F LA S TAT Â§ 120 (2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 205 (2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 440 (2014) F LA S TAT Â§ 455.228(1) (2005) F LA S TAT Â§ 468.619 (2013) F LA S TAT Â§ 489 (2010) F LA S TAT Â§ 489 .101 (2010) F LA S TAT 489.13 (2012 ) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.101 (2013) F LA S TAT Â§489.105, (2011) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.105(3) (2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.117 (2011) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.117(4)(e) (2013) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.118 (2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.127(1)(f) (2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.127 (2)(a) (2010) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.127 (2) (b) (2010) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.128 (2005) F LA S TAT Â§ 489.514 (2000) F LA S TAT Â§ 553 (2010) F LA S TAT Â§ 713.29 (2012)
175 F LA S TAT Â§ 768.0425 (2012) F LA S TAT Â§ 775.082 (2013) F LA S TAT Â§ 775.083 (2013) F LA S TAT Â§ 775.084 (2013) F LA S TAT Â§ 825 (2013) GA. CODE ANN. Â§ 43 41 17(b) (West 2010) HAW. REV. STAT. Â§ 444 2 (2013) I DAHO C ODE A NN Â§ 54 10 (West 2014) I ND C ODE A NN Â§ 22 11 3.1 1 (West 2010) I OWA C ODE A NN Â§91C.1.2 (West 2008) KAN. ST AT. ANN. Â§ 32 1122 (West 2014) KAN. STAT. ANN. Â§Â§ 74 7031, 74 7033, 556 (West 2014) KY. REV. STAT. ANN. Â§ 198B.130 ( West 1996) KY. REV. STAT. Â§ 318.990 (1996) LA. REV. STAT. ANN. Â§ 37:2150 (2011) L A. REV. STAT. ANN. Â§ 37:2160C (2011) MASS. GEN. LAWS ch. 142A, Â§ 1 (West 2011) MD. CODE, BUS. ANN. OCC & PROF. Â§ 8 501 (2011) ME. REV. STA T. ANN. tit. 10, Â§ 1111 (2011) MINN. STAT. A NN Â§ Â§ 326.37 326.45 (West 2006) MISS. CODE ANN. Â§ 73 59 15 (West 201 3) MONT. CODE A NN Â§ 61 5 104 (West 2013) N.C. GEN. STAT. ANN Â§ 87 1 (West 2010) N.D. CENT. CODE ANN. Â§ 43 07 01(3) (West 2013)
176 N.D. CENT. CODE ANN. Â§ 43 07 02 (West 2013) N EB R EV S TAT A NN Â§ 48 2101 (West 2013) N EV R EV S TAT A NN Â§ 624.700 (West 2014) N.H. REV. STAT. Â§ 319 C:1 (2011) N.H. REV. STAT. Â§ 329 A:13 (1996) N.J. STAT. ANN. Â§ 56:8 132 (West 2013) N.J. STAT. ANN. Â§ 56:8 137 (West 2013) N.J. STAT. ANN. Â§ 56:8 146 (WEST 2013) N.Y. GEN. BUS. LAW ANN. Â§ 36 A 770 96 (McKinney 2014) OHIO REV. CODE ANN. Â§ 4740.01 (West 2012) OKLA. STAT. ANN. tat. 68, Â§Â§ 1701 1707 (West 2012) OR. REV. STAT. ANN. Â§ 701.010 (West 2011) R.I GEN LAWS Â§ 6 1 1 (2013) R.I. GEN LAWS Â§ 5 61 (2013) S.C. CODE ANN. Â§ 40 11 30 (Law. Co op. 2011) S.D. CODIFIED LAWS Â§ 10 46 A (2012) S.D. CODIFIED LAWS Â§ 10 46 B (2012) T ENN C ODE A NN Â§ 62 6 501 (West 2010) TEX. PROP. CODE ANN. Â§ 416.001 (West 2005) UTAH CODE ANN. Â§ 58 55 305(h)(i) (West 2010) VA. CODE ANN. Â§ 54 1 1100 (West 2010) WASH. REV. CODE ANN. Â§ 18.106 (West 2012) WASH. REV. CODE ANN. Â§ 308.408.A (West 2012)
177 WIS STAT. ANN. Â§ 1 01.1472(2) (West 2013). W.VA. CODE ANN. Â§ 21 11 1 (West 2011) Ordinances Alachua County. (2007). 07 03 AMENDING CHAPTER 39.4. OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE TAX TO COMPLY WITH CHANGES TO CHAPTER 205, FLORIDA STATUTES, (2007 07 03). Alachua County, FL. City Of Co ral Gables, Florida v BURGIN, 143 So.2d 859 (1962) Municipal Powers, Miami Dade Code of Ordinances Â§6.02 (2014 ) Case Law Cline v. Sawyer, 600 P.2d, 725 (Wyo.1979) Gallagher v. Dupont, 918 So.2d 342 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) Kirkendall v. Heckinger, 269 Nw 2d, 184 (Mich.1978) Municip al Powers, Miami Dade Code of Ordinances Â§6.02 (2014) Parker v. McQuade Plumbing and Heating, Inc., 335 Nw.2d, 7 (Mich. App. 1983) State ex rel. Cory v. Mun. Court of Minneapolis, 208 N.W. 642 (Minn.1962) Sterner v. Phillips 721 So.2d 450 (Fla.5 DCA 1998) Superior American Homes v. Fry, 343 N.W. 2d 561 (Mich. App. 1983) Walker v. State, 880 So.2d 1262, 1264 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004)
178 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Robert Lash earned his master's degree from the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of C onstructi on Management at the University of Florida in 2014 He received an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of South Florida and a Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law. He is a State Certified General Contractor, a licensed Real Estate Broker and developer. The National Homebuilder's Association honored him with a first place award for medium sized office building design and construction in the southeast United States. He currently sits on the board of directors for the Builders Association of North Central Florida, and is the board attorney for the Gainesville Air Conditioning Contractors Association and the North Central Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association. He is also a former member of the C odes E nforcemen t B oard for Alachua County, and the Alachua County P lan Board His primary focus is construction litigation and the representation of building contractors, subcontractors and their suppliers. Devotion to the construction industry will continue to play an importa nt role in his life.