By: Christopher Solop
Last year during the Regular 2022 Legislative Session, amendments were made to the Mississippi Residential Builder and Remodelers statute, Miss. Code Ann. §§ 73-59-1, et seq. These changes went into effect July 1, 2022, and expand the licensing requirements to subcontractors involved in residential construction and remodeling. The amendments to Miss. Code Ann. § 73-59-3 provide in pertinent part as follows:
(1) Except as otherwise provided in Section 73-59-15 or Section 33-1-39, the following persons or entities shall be licensed by the board annually as an active licensee or inactive licensee, as appropriate:
(a) Persons or entities acting in the capacity as a residential builder;
(b) Persons or entities acting in the capacity as a residential remodeler;
(c) Persons or entities acting in the capacity as a construction manager through a contract or an agreement with the owner of the property being improved or constructed upon;
(d) Any subcontractor, of any tier, performing the following work or within the following trade, on any residential construction or residential improvement project, no matter the dollar amount of the construction or improvements:
(iii) Mechanical; and/or
(iv) Heating, ventilation and/or air conditioning; and
(e) Persons or entities acting in the capacity as a residential solar contractor.
These statutory changes are clearly for the benefit of residential purchasers and owners who are building or remodeling their homes. Requiring residential builders and remodelers to be licensed by the Mississippi State Board of Contractors (“MSBOC”) along with trade subcontractors “no matter the dollar amount of the construction or improvements” provides an increased level of protection that previously did not exist in the law. To determine whether your contractor or subcontractor is properly licensed visit the MSBOC website at www.msboc.us.
In addition to this change, the statute also provides for penalties for individuals or entities that attempt to avoid these licensing requirements. Miss. Code Ann. §73-59-9 now provides, in addition to potentially being charged with a misdemeanor, fined, and imprisoned for not less than thirty (30) days, that violators may not bring an action to enforce any contract the contractor has for residential construction or remodeling.
Any person or entity required to have a license under Section 73-59-3(1) who does not have the license provided by this chapter at the time construction, building or remodeling services are rendered may not bring any action, either at law or in equity, to enforce any contract for residential building or remodeling or to enforce a sales contract, but instead shall be only permitted to recover as damages actual documented expenses for labor, materials or both, incurred as a result of the construction, building or remodeling services rendered, but only for those expenses which can be shown by clear and convincing evidence.
(Emphasis added.) Miss. Code Ann. § 73-59-9(2). This provision does not preclude the residential purchase or remodeler from recovering for the cost associated with any remedial work or diminution in value of the home or work.