When is it Acceptable to Refer a Handyman Instead of a Licensed Contractor?
If you are in the process of remodeling: you should know the answer to this question. If you are a licensed real estate professional : should you refer a Handyman to your clients for an issue that is required to be accomplished by a licensed contractor you may find yourself legally liable. In some cases, it is against the law (NRS 624) for a handyman to perform certain repairs or services.
……but he’s a licensed handyman!
We receive pushback often from Seller’s Agents while performing our free reinspections to verify Seller repairs were done correctly: “……but he’s a licensed handyman!” We refuse to “bless” shoddy workmanship when it comes to a fully executed legally binding document between a buyer and seller.
To be clear: A handyman is not a licensed contractor. A Handyman is not a contractor at all. A Handyman is only required to hold a business license. They have limitations on what service(s) they are able to provide. There are certain repairs and procedures that lawfully cannot be accomplished by a Handyman and can only be accomplished (legally) by a licensed contractor.
I am a retired US Navy engineering chief. In the military I learned that everything in writing is referenceable. Or, in other words, “we don’t write the music; we just play in the band”. I rarely know all the answers, but I generally know where to find all the answers.
I researched NRS and NAC 624 “Contractors”; but for full clarity I discussed the issue with Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) Senior Investigator, Mr. Greg Welch.
|What is the Nevada State Contractor’s Board?|
The NSCB is a quasi-governmental agency who holds oversight and authority for every licensed contractor in the State of Nevada. The Nevada State Contractors Board is funded from fees collected from licensees.
The Nevada State Contractors Board does not receive funds from the State General Fund. The NSCB is a consumer protection and advocacy agency. They protect the public.
Mr. Welch provided me with the guidelines regarding any work accomplished by a Handyman. These guideline are referenceable in Nevada State law.
- Any work where the cost of materials and labor exceed $1,000 cannot be accomplished by a handyman.
- Any work that requires a permit cannot be accomplished by a Handyman.
- A Handyman cannot perform any work in areas where the repairs can only be accomplished by a licensed contractor. This specifically includes the following four (4) categories:
- Fire protection
Real Life Scenarios Explained
That’s it in a nutshell. Simple, not complicated. So, let me throw some real-life practical issues out to you:
- The inspection report discloses a faulty or missing GFCI in the kitchen. Handyman or contractor? It’s electrical. A handyman cannot legally correct this issue. It must be corrected by a licensed electrical contractor.
- The inspection report discloses the toilet is loose on the floor. Handyman or contractor? A toilet is a plumbing fixture. This can only be resolved (legally) by a licensed contractor.
- The inspection report discloses there are several cracked and out of place roof tiles. Handyman or contractor? It’s not over $1000. A permit is not needed. It doesn’t fall into any of the four specific categories. This maintenance action can legally be accomplished by a Handyman
- The inspection report discloses the water heater is leaking. Handyman or contractor? In addition to this being a plumbing issue replacing a water heater requires a permit. (It’s really easy to spot a water heater that has been installed by a handyman).
If you have any further questions you may check out these references:
NAC 624: Contractors (Nevada Administrative Code)
NRS 624: Contractors (Nevada Revised Statutes)
Nevada State Contractor’s Board
Report Unlicensed Contracting in Nevada
Search for a Nevada Contractor’s Licensing Status