In 2007, an amendment to the contractor licensing statute (RCW 18.27) imposed the requirement that a property investor who intends to renovate and sell property within a year of acquisition be licensed as a contractor – even if the investor contracts with a licensed general contractor to do the work. This has always seemed absurd to me. In what other profession is the client required to hold the same license as the professional? The concern at the time was the prevalence of house flippers doing shoddy work. Fair enough, but a developer who hires a contractor to do shoddy work would likely be liable to his buyer, if he can find one, in some fashion regardless of whether he is licensed as a contractor.
Fortunately, legislation to fix this anomaly is now pending in Olympia. The House has unanimously passed an amended HB 1749, which will exempt from contractor licensing owners that contract with licensed contractors and that do not superintend the work. The original House bill would allow a further exemption for carpeting and painting work performed by the owner. A companion Senate bill (SB 5847) is scheduled for Commerce & Labor committee action later this week.
Now is a particularly good time for supporters of this bill to contact their legislative representatives!
UPDATE: The bill passed the Senate and was signed by the Governor on April 22, 2015. It should be effective 90 days after the close of the current legislative session.