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Home Improvement Contractor License Requirement FAQ

  1. Q. When is a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) license required?

    A. A HIC license is required for work being performed in (a) a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-family dwelling or (b) an individual unit/condo in a multiple-family dwelling regardless of size if the person hiring the contractor is the owner or tenant of the dwelling or unit/condo. Certain licensees may be exempt from the requirement, e.g., a licensed architect or engineer or a licensed plumber.

  2. Q. When is a Home Improvement Contractor license NOT required?

    A. A HIC license is not required when work is being performed by a licensed architect or engineer, or a licensed tradesperson or other person who is required by state or city law to obtain a license (but only when the work is exclusively within the scope of the craft, profession or business for which he or she is currently licensed).

    A HIC license is not required for work being performed in the following types of buildings/structures:

    New buildings

    Government-owned buildings

    Office buildings

    Sidewalk sheds

    Commercial spaces

    Construction fences


  3. Q. When does the requirement take effect?

    A. The requirement to have a Home Improvement Contractor license in order to perform certain work has been in effect for many years. However, for jobs filed on or after November 15, 2005, the Department of Buildings will not issue or renew a work permit for work that requires a HIC license unless the contractor presents proof of an active HIC license.

  4. Q. How will the requirement be enforced?

    A. For job filings submitted to the Department of Buildings on or after November 15, 2005 for work to be performed in a 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-family dwelling or an individual unit/condo in a multiple-family dwelling, a Required Item will be added requiring the HIC license or affidavit to be submitted before the work permit may be issued. At the time a request for a work permit is submitted, the contractor must present a valid HIC license or if qualified for one of the exemptions, an affidavit in lieu of a HIC license. The requirement will also apply to permit renewal requests for jobs filed on or after November 15, 2005.

  5. Q. What if I am asked to present a Home Improvement Contractor license, but the work I am going to perform meets one of the exceptions?

    A. An Affidavit form can be presented in lieu of having a HIC license. The form is available in the Forms section of the Department of Buildings website.

  6. Q. I am a Managing Agent for a building and am hiring a contractor to renovate condominium apartments in the building that I manage. Does the contractor need a Home Improvement Contractor license?

    A. No. The Contractor does not need to have a HIC license to perform work when directly hired by the managing agent of the building.

  7. Q. What is the basis for requiring a Home Improvement Contractor license?

    A. The law requiring a Home Improvement Contractor License is Local Law 21 of 1968.

  8. Q. Who issues the Home Improvement Contractor license?

    A. The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) issues the HIC license. For more information, visit their web site at www.nyc.gov/dca.

  9. Q. I am a Professional Architect designing a 3-family dwelling for a property owner. Do I need a Home Improvement Contractor license?

    A. No. As a licensed architect or engineer you do not need a HIC license to design or to monitor construction.

  10. Q. I am a licensed plumber performing apartment renovations. Do I need a Home Improvement Contractor license?

    A. No. You do not need a HIC license to perform work that is within the scope of a craft, profession or business for which you are currently licensed. This would include plumbing-related work performed under a plumbing license. However, if a licensed plumber performs non-plumbing related work as part of a plumbing job, a HIC license would be required.

  11. Q. My Department of Buildings Work Permit is expiring and I need to renew it. Must I present a Home Improvement Contractor license to renew a permit?

    A. If proof of a HIC license was required in order to obtain the original work permit, then proof that the HIC license is still active may be required to renew the permit.

  12. Q. How do I obtain a Home Improvement Contractor License?

    A. The HIC license is issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), not the Buildings Department. Instructions for obtaining a HIC license are available from the DCA or at the DCA website located at www.nyc.gov/dca.

  13. Q. Where can I find out more information about the Home Improvement Contractor License requirement?

    A. For more information, you may visit the Department of Consumer Affairs or the Department of Buildings.

Other Related Link:
Home Improvement Contractor License Requirement
Operation PPN #3/05
Home Improvement Contractor Affidavit
Other Department of Buildings FAQ A-L
Other Department of Buildings FAQ M-Z
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