by Joel T. Fornara, Attorney, Musgrove Drutz Kack & Flack, PC
As the weather begins to warm up so, too, will the desire to begin various home improvement projects. If your particular home improvement project requires the skill of a professional, then you will want to make sure the person you are hiring to complete the job is actually a professional.
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) is a governmental agency that regulates contractors and subcontractors. The ROC requires those intending to perform certain construction jobs to be licensed. The ROC’s licensing process not only helps ensure that an applicant is qualified to perform the scope of work authorized under a particular license, but also requires the applicant to take a business management course and undergo a criminal background check.
Hiring a contractor licensed by the ROC also ensures you will have recourse in the event something goes wrong.
The ROC provides an administrative procedure for pursuing a claim against a contractor. The process involves a complaint, an on-site inspection, an opportunity to cure by the contractor and, if necessary, a hearing before an administrative law judge.
The ROC’s complaint process is an alternative to the homeowner’s right to file a civil suit for damages or specific performance. Oftentimes an ROC complaint results in a quicker, more efficient resolution to a dispute.
In addition to providing its own procedure for resolving homeowner complaints, the ROC also requires licensed contractors to post a bond ranging from $4,250-$15,000 and either pay into the Recovery Fund or post an additional bond in the amount of $200,000. Both the license bond and the Recovery Fund are safeguards to ensure that homeowners can recover at least a portion of their financial damages as a result of the contractor’s failure.
Because the license bond and Recovery Fund are not always sufficient to compensate you for your losses, it is important to confirm that your contractor is also insured. The ROC does not require its licensed contractors to have a general liability policy so this is something you will want to find out directly from the contractor.
If you are considering hiring a contractor, or you are experiencing difficulties with a contractor you hired, our office can advise you of your rights and assist you in resolving any disputes at any stage along the way.