Homes of all types, big, little, old, new, owner occupied and yes-even rental properties require maintenance and repair on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately not all homeowners are handy with a set of plans, a hammer and a nail. Luckily there are professional contractors and sub-contracting specialties to fix what needs fixed in our homes.
However not all contactors are created equal. This is where making an informed decision about using a licensed contractor becomes very important for homeowners. This may not be as straight-forward as it sounds. There are several items to consider.
According to Angie’s List, every state has different requirements and processes for licensing contractors. Generally most require proof of insurance which may include worker’s compensation and liability. Some require bonding of the contractor. Certain municipalities require that all work is permitted before being started and as part of that permitting, must show a contractor license.
Nothing in life is free and that is true for licensing of contractors also. Homeowners may be reluctant to spend more money for using a licensed contractor. Many unlicensed contractors may have a great reputation and a list of testimonials to show. There are several items every homeowner should know and consider:
- An unlicensed contractor may not have liability and worker’s comp insurance. The homeowner could be sued if an accident occurs with a contractor or their employees or if some sort of damage occurs.
- Un-bonded contractors may not be responsible for shoddy work, unfinished work or payment of suppliers.
- The homeowner may end up paying twice if poor quality work must be repaired.
- Check the actual license number of the contractor with licensing authorities. They can be bogus or expired. This should be done for proof of insurance and bonding as well.
In Alabama contractors are regulated by the state. They must take an exam to obtain their license and renew it as needed. Some adjacent states may give reciprocity for licenses. The Alabama Contractors Board has a website where license numbers can be easily checked. Just go to www.genconbd.alabama.gov.
At RPM Azalea City we want our rental properties to be in good repair and comfortable for renters. Making informed decisions about when to use a licensed contractor is one aspect of meeting rental needs. Caveat emptor or in this case: owner beware.