Frequently Asked Questions
- Will the Arizona Registrar of Contractors acknowledge receipt of my application?
Yes. You will receive a receipt with a pending number on it. This number is used to keep track of your application. If you have questions on the status of your application, you may use the pending number when calling in so that your application can be located more quickly.
- How will I know if my application is approved?
If the application is approved, a notice is mailed to you, and you will receive a call from a Licensing Representative.
- What happens if my application is not approved?
If your application can not be approved, you will be notified.
- Can I get a refund of the fees?
The Agency returns the license fee when a license is not issued. Such instances include, when an application is returned because the applicant failed to respond to a deficiency letter by providing requested information or when the applicant makes a request to withdraw their license application. The application fee is retained, however.
The Agency returns the application fee when the Agency exceeds the statutorily allowed timeframe to review and act upon a license by issuing or denying the license application. Note: This statutory timeframe does not include time the Agency is waiting on the applicant to respond to deficiencies. The license fee is retained, however.
The only time the Agency would refund the application fee and license fee would be on a denied license that took longer than 60 days to review and act upon the application. [see R4-9-113]?
- Is a bankruptcy a reason to deny an application for a contractor's license?
A bankruptcy is not grounds to deny an application for a contractor's license.
- If the ownership of a business changes, is the contractor's license considered to be part of the business?
No, a license is non-transferable, with the possible exception of a corporation or limited liability company. If stock is sold and the file number assigned by the Arizona Corporation Commission remains the same, the same license can be used if the license is active and in good standing.
- How do I apply for a Federal Employer ID Number / Tax ID Number?
Federal Employer ID Numbers (EIN) / Tax ID Numbers (TIN) can be obtained through the IRS.gov website at the following address. Read their directions carefully and fill out the online application to immediately receive your EIN.
Recovery Fund FAQ
- What is the Recovery Fund and what is its purpose?
- The Recovery Fund is a form of financial protection provided by licensed Arizona residential contractors to residential homeowners. The Recovery Fund is governed by statute and available only to persons who own and occupy, or intend to occupy, residential property. In some circumstances, the Recovery Fund is also available to lessees of residential real property and homeowners' or unit owners' associations as defined by A.R.S. § 32-1132(B). The Recovery Fund does not accept claims from suppliers, subcontractors, laborers or other commercial entities.
- A claim can be filed with the Recovery Fund through either the administrative process authorized by A.R.S. § 32-1133.01, or through the civil process authorized by A.R.S. § 32-1133. Under both of these processes, a claimant must show that he/she is eligible and has suffered compensable actual damages as defined by the Recovery Fund statutes.
- Am I eligible to file a Recovery Fund claim? (Please ensure that you are eligible before you file a claim!)
In order to be deemed eligible for recovery from the Fund, you must submit documentation to demonstrate that you meet the following requirements:
- The contractor's residential or dual license must have been suspended or revoked as a direct result of a formal complaint filed by you against the contractor's license. (This requirement does not apply to civil Recovery Fund claims filed pursuant to A.R.S. § 32-1133.) A.R.S. § 32-1133.01.
- Prior to filing a claim with the Residential Contractors' Recovery Fund, you must first have filed a claim against the contractor's license bond and received a final determination in regard to that claim. (Information about the contractor's bond can be found on the Contractor Search page of our website.) A.R.S. § 32-1133(D)(3) and A.R.S. § 32-1133.01(F).
- The contractor must be a licensed residential contractor. A.R.S. § 32-1131.3 and A.R.S. § 32-1101(A)(10).
- The claimant must be one of the following, as defined by A.R.S. § 32-1132(B): 1) the owner of a residential property who actually occupies or intends to occupy the residential property as their primary residence, 2) a limited liability company (LLC) that owns the residential property which is actually occupied or intended to be occupied by ALL of the LLC's members as their primary residence AND no member of the LLC has received monies from the fund in the past two years, 3) a revocable living trust that owns the residential property which is actually occupied or intended to be occupied by ALL of the trust's trustors as their primary residence AND no trustor has received monies from the fund in the past two years, 4) a planned community (as defined by A.R.S. § 33-1802) or unit owners' association (as defined by A.R.S. § 33-1202) if both the builder or developer transferred control to the planned community or unit owners' association AND the common elements within the complex were damaged, and 5) a lessee who actually occupies or intends to occupy residential real property as the lessee's primary residence AND contracted directly with a residential contractor or indirectly with a subcontractor of the residential contractor AND is damaged by the licensed residential contractor's failure to adequately build or improve a residential structure or appurtenance).
- The contractor whose actions damaged the claimant must have been appropriately licensed at one of the following times (as defined by A.R.S. § 32-1132(C): 1) the date that the underlying contract was signed, 2) the date that the first payment was made, or 3) the date that the underlying work first commenced. "Appropriately licensed", as defined by A.R.S. § 32-1132(D), means the residential contractor's license was valid (not canceled, in inactive status, expired, suspended or revoked).
- The claim must be filed within the relevant two-year statute of limitations, as follows:
In an administrative Recovery Fund claim, the claim for payment from the residential contractor's Recovery Fund must be submitted within two years after all proceedings, reviews and appeals connected with the Registrar's final order terminate per A.R.S. § 32-1133.01(G).
In a civil Recovery Fund claim, the civil complaint must be filed with the court no later than two years after the date of the commission of the act by the contractor that is the cause of the injury or from the date of occupancy per A.R.S. § 32-1133(A).
- If I am eligible, how is an award from the Fund calculated?
- The claimant must have incurred “actual damages” defined as those damages suffered as a direct result of a contractor's violation to qualify for an award from the Fund. The calculation done by the Registrar attempts to make you 'whole' on the contract; that is, to put you in the position you would have been in after full payment on, and full performance of, the underlying contract. Alternatively, if you paid the contractor a deposit to do a project and the contractor did not perform any work or deliver any materials, then we may only award you a refund of your deposit paid to the contractor, essentially rescinding the contract. A.R.S. § 32-1132.01.
- Please be aware that there are limitations to what the Fund will reimburse. Compensable damages shall not exceed an amount necessary to complete or repair the structure and cannot result in a net gain to the claimant. As with eligibility, you bear the burden to establish to the Registrar that you have suffered damages that are compensable from the Fund. A.R.S. § 32-1132.01.
- In a civil claim, though you may obtain a civil judgment against a contractor for damages, not all those damages may be compensable from the Fund. The limitations above will guide what portion of the judgment damages may be compensable from the Fund.
- I think I'm eligible and would like to file a Recovery Fund claim. What is the procedure and what documentation do I need to provide?
An eligible homeowner can pursue an award from the Fund civilly or administratively. Claims are paid after a final court order or final administrative order.
Administrative Procedure for Recovery
An administrative claim must be filed on forms prescribed by the Registrar and submitted to our office along with all supporting documentation. A claim may only be filed after the required discipline is imposed against the contractor as the result of a complaint filed against the contractor, and after a claim on the contractor's bond has been fully processed by the surety pursuant to A.R.S. § 32-1133.01. The claim must be filed within the relevant two-year statute of limitations, which is within two years after all proceedings, reviews and appeals connected with the Registrar's final order terminate per A.R.S. § 32-1133.01(G).Also, required documentation includes:
- a copy of the property deed (If you do not have a copy of the deed, you will need to contact your County Recorder's Office to obtain one.);
- the original contract;
- copies of documents that verify proof of payment on the contract; and,
- copies of documents that verify proof of cost to repair and/or complete the project (If the project has not been repaired and/or completed by someone else, proof of cost may be obtained by receiving and submitting three (3) bids from licensed residential contractors).
Recovery Fund staff will then process and analyze the claim to determine whether the claimant is eligible and, if so, to what extent they may qualify for compensation from the Fund, as outlined above.
After the notice, either party may request a hearing to contest the amount of the award.
- If a hearing is not requested, the claimant and the respondent will be sent a written final order and award.
- If a hearing is timely requested, a written final order and award will be sent after a hearing.
Civil Procedure for Recovery
A civil action against the contractor must be brought in a civil court of competent jurisdiction. The lawsuit must be filed with the court within two years from the date of the commission of the act by the contractor that is the cause of the injury or two years from the date of occupancy. A.R.S. § 32-1133(A).
Pursuant to A.R.S. § 32-1133(B), the claimant (Plaintiff) must notify the Registrar of the commencement of the lawsuit. The Plaintiff must also submit a copy of the relevant court filings and all required supporting documentation to establish eligibility and damages, as explained above and including proof showing a claim on the contractor's license bond has been fully processed.
Once a judgment against the contractor is obtained, a claimant must provide that document to the Registrar along with at least twenty days written notice of the claimant's intent to apply to the court for an order directing payment from the Fund. A.R.S. § 32-1133(C).
Failure to comply with these requirements may necessitate that the Registrar intervene into the lawsuit in order to obtain the necessary documentation to determine the merits of a claim. Intervention is a right afforded the Registrar in order to protect the Fund. A.R.S. § 32-1133.
The Plaintiff must file a claim against all available bonds and follow the requirements of A.R.S. § 32-1133.
If the claim is determined eligible for a payment from the Fund, the court will issue an Order Directing Payment from the Fund. The claimant then needs to file a certified copy of this Order with the Registrar. Please be aware that the Fund does not pay a claimant's court costs and/or attorney's fees in civil claims. These expenses are not recoverable from the Fund, except in contested cases appealed to the Superior Court (which means administrative claims that are appealed to the Superior Court). A.R.S. § 32-1132.01(E) and A.R.S. § 32-1133(E).
- What documentation do I need to provide to show proof of cost to repair and/or complete the project?
If work has not begun to correct or complete the project:
In either an administrative or a civil claim, you will need to provide itemized bids (at least three), from licensed residential contractors, that document how much money it will take to repair or complete the project. In the matter of an administrative claim, these bids must match the corrective work ordered to be completed in your underlying disciplinary case to be accepted as a valid basis to estimate your “actual damages.” A.R.S. §32-1132.01(B).
If work to repair or complete the project is in progress or has been completed:
In either an administrative or a civil claim, you will need to submit all accompanying documentation which demonstrates what money you have spent to repair / complete the project, including: a copy of the new contract(s), invoices, receipts, and proof of payment on the new contract. Only costs incurred to complete or repair the corrective work ordered in your underlying disciplinary case are compensable as “actual damages.” A.R.S. §32-1132.01(B).
Note: Proof of cost to complete or repair cannot be based on bids supplied by, or work performed by, an unlicensed person or business. A.R.S. §32-1132.01(B).
- Why do I need to provide so much supporting documentation?
The Registrar has a fiduciary responsibility to administer the monies in the Fund. The Fund is audited every three years and must obtain sufficient evidence to document that the correct decision on each claim was made. This responsibility requires that the Fund have evidence to demonstrate that only those claims that are eligible and that qualify for a monetary payout within the limitations of the statutes were paid.
There is no entitlement to a payout from the Fund. As with any applicant to such a program, the burden of proof lies on the claimant to establish eligibility and what damages, if any, the applicant can receive within the statutory limitations. As such, the required documentation is the minimal evidence the Fund needs (in most cases) from a claimant to determine whether the claimant has carried that burden of proof. A failure to provide the requested documentation may result in a rejection of your claim until the requested documentation is provided (if an administrative claim) or the Registrar's intervention (if a civil claim) in your lawsuit to obtain the information.
- I am having trouble obtaining bids. Will you recommend licensed contractors for me to call?
We cannot recommend a contractor to you. Since the Registrar licenses and regulates contractors, this could be perceived as a conflict of interest. You may use our website to perform searches of contractors in your area by license class to ensure their license is in good standing.
- I have damages that I need to repair now. I cannot wait for reimbursement from the Recovery Fund. What do I do?
If you feel that you need to move forward with repairs prior to possible reimbursement from the Fund, the decision must be made by you, the claimant. If you proceed with repairs, it will not prevent you from receiving money in your claim for recovery against the Fund. You should fully document the condition of the home with photos, etc. so that you are prepared to support your claim if a hearing is requested. You will need to submit to the Fund all accompanying documentation which supports the cost of the repairs.
In any case, the Recovery Fund cannot guarantee payment, nor can it guarantee that you will receive full reimbursement for the amounts you spend to repair or complete the project.
- Why is the contractor afforded another opportunity in the Recovery Fund process to request a hearing? I already had a hearing and the Registrar ruled in my favor!
The contractor is guaranteed the right to due process under the statutes and Constitution in any legal proceeding. If a hearing took place in the underlying complaint process, it was for disciplinary purposes. Please keep in mind that the disciplinary legal process is wholly separate and apart from any proceedings necessary to resolve a Recovery Fund claim.
A Recovery Fund hearing would address different issues than were addressed in your disciplinary complaint case, such as eligibility requirements or the appropriateness of the proposed monetary award. In the Recovery Fund process, a hearing may be requested by the contractor, claimant or the Registrar of Contractors.
- What do I do if the contractor files for bankruptcy?
As a general proposition, a contractor's bankruptcy filing cannot divest the Registrar from authorizing a payout to an eligible homeowner. There can always be exceptions, however, so you may want to consult a bankruptcy attorney for guidance as to what effect, if any, this may have on the processing of your claim.
- How much will I be paid from the Recovery Fund?
The Recovery Fund does not guarantee payment to anyone. If you are found to be eligible for a payment from the Fund, you can recover a maximum of $30,000.00 per residence. An award shall not exceed an amount necessary to complete or repair the project. The maximum payout per residential contractor's license is $200,000.00. Once $200,000.00 in claims has been disbursed, no further payments from the Fund against that contractor's license shall be allowed. A.R.S. § 32-1132.01(D), and A.R.S. § 32-1139.A.
- After an award is made from the Recovery Fund, does the Fund select/hire the contractor, or do I make that decision?
The Recovery Fund does not select/hire the contractor to complete the necessary repairs. The check is issued to you, the homeowner. You contract directly with the contractor and are responsible for paying the contractor.
- How would I collect from a Contractor's License Bond?
When a contractor becomes licensed by the State of Arizona, the licensee must post a license bond ranging from $4,250 to $100,000. This money may be posted in the form of cash, a certificate of deposit or a surety bond. The first thing to do is to find out the type of bond held by the contractor and to make sure it has not already been exhausted.
If the contractor has posted a surety bond, the surety company has the right to pay a written claim prior to court action, but some will require you to get a judgment against the contractor and the surety company. To collect from a surety bond you must file a written claim with the surety company. We recommend that you review the statutes governing bonds and the recovery fund beginning with A.R.S. §32-1131. Copies of the ROC statutes are available at any of our offices or on this website.
If the contractor has posted a cash bond or a certificate of deposit, only the contractor has to be sued. You must send written notice to the Registrar of Contractors of any lawsuit you may file to collect from a contractor's cash bond or certificate of deposit. This will prevent the bond from being refunded to the contractor pending resolution of the claim. Civil judgments must specify that claim can be paid from the cash bond or certificate of deposit assigned to the Registrar of Contractors. If multiple judgments are received, cash bonds are disbursed in the order the judgments are received. It is possible that a contractor's bond could be depleted before you make recovery. It is always advisable to act promptly if a problem occurs.
Lawsuits against license bonds must be started within two years after the commission of the act on which the claim is based. If payment is made from a license bond, the contractor's license is automatically suspended by the operation of law until the full bond amount is replaced per A.R.S. § 32-1152(E) and (F).
Bonding Requirements FAQ
- Are there any bond requirements for a contractor's license?
Yes. It is the applicant or licensee's responsibility to file a Contractor's Bond in the amount required for the respective license classification and anticipated annual gross volume. The bond may be in the form of a surety bond or a cash bond. You may also provide a bond in the form of cash or a certificate of deposit from any bank which operates in Arizona.
Additional information on bonding requirements is provided in the license application packet.
In addition to a license bond, a residential contractor is also required to pay an assessment into the Registrar's Residential Recovery Fund or post a surety or cash bond in the amount of $200,000.
- How long is a bond valid?
The bond must be continuous. This means that there is no termination date on the bond. You may be required to pay premiums to the insurance company periodically to keep the bond in force. The bonding company has the right to cancel the bond but must send a notice to you and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors thirty days prior to the cancellation date. If this occurs, you will need to replace the bond or your license will be suspended.
If your bond is in cash, the agency will retain the bond until two years after the license terminates. If no claims are made against the bond in that time, you may apply to have the bond released to you.
- What will the bond amount be?
Please check the chart on the Bond Information page. Determine the bond amount by considering the volume of work and classification contemplated by the applicant.
- Can the bond amount be increased?
The amount of the contractor's license bond may be increased at any time. However, a surety bond or cash deposit in lieu of bond cannot be decreased except at the time of renewal for the ensuing fiscal year.
- When will the bond be effective?
Surety bonds or cash deposits shall not become effective until filed with the Registrar's office. If the effective date shown on the bond is after the date of filing with the Registrar, then that date shown on the bond shall be the controlling date for when the bond becomes effective.
- Sample Bonds
- My complaint has been referred to the Legal Department. How long does it take for this department to process my complaint?
The Registrar processes complaints as quickly as possible. If you have not received anything by mail from the Registrar within the next 3 weeks, please feel free to contact us.
- The investigator referred my complaint to the Legal Department. What happens in the Legal Department's review process?
A formal Citation will be issued providing the contractor with an opportunity to answer the charge(s) contained in the Citation and complaint.
- What happens after a Citation has been issued to the contractor?
The Citation provides the contractor with 15 calendar days to file a written answer with the Registrar.
- I, as the complainant, received a copy of the Citation; do I need to do anything?
Not at this time.
- I, as the contractor, received a copy of the Citation; do I need to do anything?
Yes, you should follow the directions contained within the Citation.
- Does the complainant get a copy of the Citation?
All notices issued by the Legal Department are mailed to both parties.
- Does the complainant get a copy of the contractor's answer to the Citation?
Yes, if an answer is timely filed, the Legal Department will provide a copy with the Notice of Hearing mailed.
- How can I file my answer?
In-Person: 1700 W. Washington St., Ste. 105, Phoenix, Arizona, 85007-2812
Mail: P.O. Box 18244, Phoenix, Arizona, 85005-8244
Email: [email protected]
Please note, an answer is not filed with the Registrar until the Registrar receives the answer.
- What happens if the contractor does not file a timely written answer to the Citation?
A Final Order will be issued by the Registrar imposing discipline upon the license.
- What happens if a timely answer is filed to the Citation?
The Registrar will issue a notice of hearing to all parties after obtaining a hearing date from the Office of Administrative Hearings. That notice of hearing will be mailed at least 30 days before the hearing date.
- Do I need to attend the settlement conference?
If a conference is scheduled, it is in the best interest of both parties to attend the conference in order to work towards a resolution. However, the complainant is not required to attend.
- A hearing has been scheduled. What now?
Under A.A.C. R4-9-118(A), before a hearing, the parties must prepare a disclosure statement. The disclosure statement must contain:
- A list of all the witnesses the party will call to testify, including the witnesses' contact information and a brief description of the subject matter of the witnesses' expected testimony; and
- A list of all the exhibits that the party will use at the hearing.
The disclosure can be submitted using the Prehearing Disclosure Statement form.
- Is complainant required to attend the hearing?
Yes, the burden is on the complainant to prove that the contractor violated the charges contained in the Citation and complaint.
- I live out of state now. What are my options for attending the scheduled hearing?
You may contact the Office of Administrative Hearings for all available options at 602-542-9826.
- When will the order be issued after a hearing?
After a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge has 20 days to send to the Registrar a recommended decision. The Registrar then has 30 days to issue its final order adopting, modifying, or rejecting that Administrative Law Judge's Decision.
- How can I add new allegations to my complaint?
If a Citation has already been issued, the complainant must file a new complaint. If the complaint is pending with the investigator, the complainant may submit a request to amend the complaint. That request will be reviewed by the assigned investigator.
- How can I pay my civil penalty to the Registrar?
You may pay in person at any of the Registrar's offices or you may mail a check made payable to the Registrar of Contractors to:
Registrar of Contractors
P.O. Box 6748
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6748
- What happens if my case gets resolved before a hearing?
Send your written notice of resolution, signed by the Complainant, to the Register.
In person: at the Registrar's Phoenix Office
Mail: P.O. Box 18244, Phoenix, Arizona, 85005-8244
Email: [email protected]
- My final order says my license will be suspended for 1+ days. When will the suspension take place?
The suspension will be imposed the day after that order becomes effective. For example: The order provides that it will be effective on July 1, 2016. The suspension will be imposed on July 2, 2016 unless that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or a holiday.
- The license was suspended until the contractor complied with the terms of the order. My case is now resolved. Where should I send the notice of resolution?
In person: at the Registrar's Phoenix Office
Mail: P.O. Box 18244, Phoenix, Arizona, 85005-8244
Email: [email protected]
- Can I obtain copies of complaint files? Or license files?
Yes, by submitting a Public Records Request form. Requests are processed in the order in which they are received. It takes approximately 7-30 days to process depending on the volume of your request.
- How long does a closed complaint show on the Registrar's website?
Complaints appear for a period of 2 years from the date the case closed.
- How do I reinstate my revoked license?
A revoked license cannot be reinstated. The contractor must resolve all outstanding complaints, pay outstanding civil penalties (if any), and reimburse the Residential Contractors' Recovery Fund (if any payouts). After all loss caused by the revocation has been cured, persons named on the revoked license may apply for a new license in accordance with A.R.S. § 32-1122 and A.R.S. § 32-1161.
- The contractor has not complied with the written directive, 15 days have elapsed, should I get 3 estimates to apply to Recovery Fund?
Please visit Recovery Fund's FAQs.
- I received a judgment from Justice Court/Superior Court, can I apply for Recovery Fund?
You may be able to submit an application with the Recovery Fund. Please call and request to speak to the Registrar's Recovery Fund Department for additional information.
- What is the status of my complaint?
Please call the Registrar's office and provide your case number for detailed information related to your case.
- I filed against the contractor in Justice Court/Superior Court; must I close my case with the ROC?
The simultaneous filing of a complaint with the Registrar and another court does not prevent the Registrar from taking action related to your complaint.
- Can the ROC help me learn more about a lien that a contractor filed on my property?
No, the ROC does not regulate liens. State law on liens can be found in Title 33.
- Do I need an attorney?
Parties are allowed to be represented by an attorney, but an attorney is not required. A party is allowed to handle its own case. A business entity may be represented by an officer or employee, subject to A.R.S. § 32-1156(B).
- Will the Attorney General represent either the complainant or the contractor?
No, the Attorney General will only represent the state agency.
- Can the ROC refer me to an attorney?
No, the ROC cannot give attorney referrals. A person may look for an attorney on the State Bar of Arizona's website.
- Why does the contractor get so many chances?
In short, the complaint process provides the contractor due process rights. The ROC is required to follow the complaint process established in state law.
- How long does a suspension stay in force?
For as long as the order instructs, whether it is 1 day, 7 days, 14 days, etc. An order may also say that a contractor's license is suspended until the contractor complies with the terms of that order. If the complainant successfully presents a claim to the Recovery Fund, then the license will again be or remain suspended until the Recovery Fund is repaid.
- Can a contractor get a new license after a license suspension or revocation?
The contractor must comply with the order issued, and if a complaint resulted in a payout from the Recovery Fund, then the contractor must repay the Recovery Fund. Please refer to the provisions of A.R.S. § 32-1122(C), A.R.S. § 32-1122(D), and A.R.S. § 32-1161 with respect to the timing and requirements applicable to the issuance of any new contractor's license to the previous license holder or to any of its personnel.
- If a person is listed on a suspended or revoked license does it impact other licenses on which that person is named?
Yes, A.R.S. § 32-1154(A)(20) provides for suspension or revocation of the other licenses after due process.
- As a licensee's qualifying party, member, or officer, once I disassociate from the license, am I still liable for complaints?
Where can I learn more about the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings?
Visit the Office of Administrative Hearings' website.