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Handyman License

If you need repair work done around your home, then you need to find a repairman with a handyman license in Washington, DC and Maryland. It's illegal for an unlicensed handyman to do home improvement work for a fee without having a handyman license through the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC). Any Maryland or DC area handyman will be happy to provide his or her handyman license number, and if you need a handyman, you should ask to see a handyman license issued through the MHIC before signing any contracts.

People who are having home repairs done in anticipation of selling their house, or who are having home repairs done after a potential buyer's home inspection should absolutely ensure that whoever does the repairs has a handyman license. As a homeowner, you take on considerable risk when you hire a worker that does not have a license. Here are just two of those risks:

1. You risk liability for injuries and damages on the jobsite by hiring a contractor without a handyman license.
2. An unlicensed, uninsured contractor has no means or incentives for repaying you for property damage he or she causes. If a home improvement worker without a handyman license causes damage to a neighbor's property, that problem will land squarely on you.

Of course, you should always ask for the MHIC number or to see a handyman license, but there are other things that can tip you off that you're working with someone who is unlicensed. A handyman without a license may ask you to write a check to an individual or even "cash" rather than a company name. Contractors who demand payment in cash may not have a handyman license and should be avoided.

If you were to hire a contractor without a handyman license, you can be held responsible for fines, unpaid bills to suppliers and unpaid wages to employees for an unlicensed contractor. It simply isn't worth the risk to hire a contractor who doesn't have a handyman license to do work for you. Insist on seeing a handyman license before signing a contract for handyman services.