License or No License?…That is the Question.

The home inspection is complete and the inspection report reveals some general repair items that are not in working condition. The contract requires that the repairs be made by an appropriately licensed person in a good and workmanlike manner. But does that mean that a licensed person is required for all repairs? Not necessarily. Depending on the type of repair work, a licensed person may or may not be required. Whether the parties have executed a FR/BAR standard contract or “AS IS” contract, it is important to understand what type of repairs require a licensed person and, if required for the specific type of repair, that only persons with the appropriate license are hired to complete the work.

Paragraph 12 of the FR/BAR standard contract obligates the seller to repair or replace all general repair items to bring the items into working condition and sets forth a specific procedure that must be followed by the parties before the repair is made by an appropriately licensed person. Under the FR/BAR “AS IS” contract, the seller has no obligation to make any repairs. However, when the inspection report reveals that items in the home are in need of repair, the parties often enter negotiations resulting in an amendment to the contract prior to the expiration of the inspection period obligating the seller to make certain repairs prior to closing. The amendment addressing repairs should include the list of repairs the seller must complete, deadline for completing the repairs, requirement to use an appropriately licensed person, and a right of the buyer to re-inspect the property after the repairs are completed.

In either situation, when the inspection reveals that repairs are required, the parties should be aware of the following:

• An appropriately licensed person is required in Florida for structural, remodeling, roofing, plumbing, and electrical work. Only persons with the appropriate license should be hired to complete this type of work.

• Certain basic small repair service jobs that often come up in the inspection report do not require a licensed contractor to perform the work and may be performed by a handyman, such as minor carpentry, door repair, small appliance repair, window repair, and tile work or repair.

• If it is important to the buyer that a licensed contractor complete all work, including small repairs that do not require a licensed contractor, or that a specific contractor complete the work, that should be specified in the contract or amendment.

• If the repair in question requires a permit, the contract or amendment should require that the permit be closed prior to closing.

As always, if you have any questions about repairs or need assistance with drafting a contract or amendment that will properly protect the parties, we urge you to consult with your local real estate attorney.

Christa L. Folkers, Esq.,
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

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