The days of affordable homes and home improvements may be coming to an end in Louisiana. If state Sen. Danny Martiny, R-Kenner, has his way, you will no longer be able to hire your average handyman to build that back porch you’ve been wanting. From now on, you will have to seek a licensed contractor and make sure he has credentials in order to avoid hefty fines.

Also, if you are that handyman, a license from the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors will be required along with a business and law exam and a trade exam. You may want to get your books in order because they will require a financial statement from an independent auditor showing your assets and net worth. (Please note: The board made it clear these records will not be kept confidential.)

The LSLBC attempted to implement these rules on Jan. 25, but Louisiana law wasn’t on its side. Martiny is now attempting to come to its rescue. Martiny introduced Senate Bill 336, which will give the LSLBC the authority it needs to sanction those individuals (homeowners and tradesmen) who are out of compliance. Martiny covered all his bases in this bill. If you think you can maneuver around these rules, think again.

Investors and landlords will carry the extra expense of having a licensed contractor. They also will be required to have a written contract on hand if the job exceeds $1,500. The contract shall include all parties involved with a residential contractor’s license number.

Not just the construction industry will be affected. To avoid risk, bankers will be forced to scrutinize contracts between their customers and contractors. Cease orders and large fines will be lurking around every corner.

By necessity, Martiny’s bill will raise the cost of residential construction and remodeling. A handful of large subcontractors will gain control of the market presently shared among a great number of small subcontractors. The self employed tradesmen who actually performs the work will be starved out or reduced to employee status and the homeowner will pay more.

SB336 is a lot to read at 25 pages. Take 10 minutes to read pages 16-20, and you will see the teeth in the bill. Martiny already has gotten his bill through the Senate and is now attempting to push it through the House. We expect it to be heard at the House Commerce Committee on April 25. You can read the full synopsis at facebook.com/tommy.cryar/posts/1024111700958284.

Tommy Cryar

investor

Lake Charles