Homeowners Recovery Fund

Who pays for the fund?

When a licensed general contractor files for and secures a building permit for the construction or alteration of a single-family dwelling unit, the local permitting and inspection departments in North Carolina charge an additional fee of the applicant/contractor. At the end of each quarterly period, inspection departments send the collected fees to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors. North Carolina’s general statutes require that monies forwarded to the Board and specified as Recovery Fund fees are to be deposited into the Homeowners Recovery Fund, which is administered by the Board. The Board can also receive donations to the Recovery Fund from various sources. (GS 87-15.6(b)

When will my claim be heard?

Since the facts surrounding each claim are unique, it is difficult to state a general time frame for a claim’s investigation, review and formal hearing. If the general contractor is still in bankruptcy when the claim is filed, the process is dependent on when the bankruptcy is terminated. Other factors include whether all required documentation or information is included in the claim form at filing or if the civil action has been completed. The Review Committee meets when necessary to consider Recovery Fund claims; the Board normally reserves two or three days each year to schedule and conduct hearings. Claimants should be aware that in most cases obtaining assistance from the Recovery Fund is not a swift process. (NCAC Title 21 Chapter 12.0906-12.907)

Do I need an attorney?

This decision is entirely up to the claimant. Some claimants choose to be represented or assisted by an attorney, but it is not necessary in order to file a claim. If the claimant is represented by an attorney, the Board staff will contact that attorney directly in matters concerning the claim. Attorney fees are not recoverable from the Recovery Fund. (GS 87-15.8(b) and NCAC Title 21 Chapter 12.0910(b)

North Carolina’s Homeowners Recovery Fund is designed to be a last resort for homeowners seeking to recover losses incurred as a result of the actions of dishonest or incompetent general contractors. Claimants must have exhausted every legal remedy for recovery prior to seeking assistance from the Homeowners Recovery Fund. When considering offers of settlement by or on behalf of the general contractor, claimants should understand that recovery of their entire loss from the Recovery Fund is not guaranteed.  (GS 87-15.8)

Is there a Homeowners Recovery Fund fee for apartment units?

No.

Building, Remodeling, Improving Your Home

Does my contractor need a license?

In the State of North Carolina, a general contractor must be licensed if the contract is valued at $30,000 or higher. Get proof that the contractor you may be working with is licensed by searching here (link to search). (GS 87-1)

Find a licensed contractor 

How do I file a complaint against a contractor?

FILE A COMPLAINT REQUEST

License Search

When looking up a license what does the number 1 mean?

When doing a license search, the 1 at the bottom of the page indicates page 1 of search results.  On a successful search, the page will list license number, license name, status, and have a button for further license details.  If no license entries are listed, that means there were no matches for that license name/number.

Is there any way to do an online search of contractors?

The website allows for searches of specific contractors by License Name, License Number or License County.  The NCLBGC Search app available on Google Play and the Apple Store allows for searches by License Name, License Number, Address and County.  To obtain a full list of active licensees or qualifiers, or more specific lists, you can submit a request for a mailing list. Mailing lists cost $25.

Complaints

How do I file a complaint against a contractor?

You can request a complaint form by visiting www.nclbgc.org/complaints.  You can also request a complaint form by calling the Licensing Board at 919-571-4813.  If the complaint request demonstrates it falls within the jurisdictional authority of the Board, a formal complaint form will be sent.  Once a completed complaint form is submitted, the Board will begin the process of investigating the complaint.

Does the contractor need a license?

The N.C.G.S. 87-1 defines a general contractor as a person, firm or corporation who manages or oversees construction projects where the cost of the project is $30,000 or greater.  The State General Contractors License is not required if a project is under $30,000.  Subcontractors typically operate under the license of the prime general contractor unless they are managing or overseeing a project.

What happens if a complaint is filed against me?

You will be notified and advised of the allegations filed with the Board against you. When notified you will also be provided with contact information for the investigator who has been assigned to investigate the case. You will also be asked to respond to the allegations made against you in writing and submit your response to the Board as soon as possible. The investigator may wait to contact you until after he has received your response. To expedite the investigation your cooperation is needed. (NCAC Title 21 Chapter 12.0701 and NCAC Title 21 Chapter 12.0702)

Is the complaint public information that remains with my license?

A complaint is a public record. The information that remains on the license record is the resulting Board decision. A disciplinary action will be disclosed upon request.

Can I file a complaint against an unlicensed contractor?

Yes, pursuant to NC General Statutes 87-13 & 87-14 complaints can be filed and investigated by the Board for a project that is $30,000 or more and involves an unlicensed contractor. If evidence to support an allegation of unlicensed general contracting is discovered during an investigation the Board may seek injunctive action in the Superior Court.

Can you require the contractor to fix my problems?

No, the Board has no authority to require a contractor to make repairs or make reimbursement of funds.

Can the Board impose a fine or a penalty?

No, the Board has no specific authority to impose civil fines or penalties.

Can the Board help get my money back?

No, the Board does not have authority to require a contractor to reimburse a consumer. The consumer would need to take legal action through the courts to recover funds or property.

Does the Board represent the homeowner or the contractor?

Neither. The Board has specific authority over the license and the examination credential for the qualifier. When a complaint is submitted and subsequently opened by the Board it is an administrative matter between the Board and its licensee and/or qualifier. The complainant or the person who submitted the complaint is not a named party in the complaint but is a key witness for the Board during its investigation and especially in the event probable cause is found by the Board to conduct a hearing against the contractor.

Inspector/Permit Clerk

If a husband or wife is listed individually on a deed can the other apply for an Owner Builder permit?

No, only the owner can apply and serve as Owner Builder.

Can I assign my power of attorney to someone to act on my behalf as Owner Builder?

No.

What does solely for occupancy mean relating to the owner builder exemption as referenced in G.S. 87-1(b)(2)?

Solely for occupancy is restricted to the family of a person, officers, shareholders of a firm or corporation and guests and social invitees where no consideration is received. For purposes of G.S. 87-1(b)(2) “family is defined as a spouse or other family member who lives in the same household.

Can you define the owner builder role of supervision and management?

The Owner Builder shall actively manage and superintend the project being constructed. Hire, manage, be invoiced and pay all subcontractors and suppliers. The Owner Builder will also be responsible for scheduling and being physically present for all inspections.

A homeowner completes an owner builder project. Can the homeowner start a new owner builder building permit prior to 12 months after the Certificate of Occupancy on the first owner builder project?

Theoretically a person who owns the property can apply for additional building permits as Owner Builder before 12 months has passed since completion of a previous owner builder permit. The person is still bound by the original affidavit requiring the owner to occupy and control the property for 12 months before offering it up for sale or lease.

Can a person be an owner/builder on a hotel or motel?

Provided the person owns the property and executes the Owner/Builder affidavit attesting that they will be actively managing the project including the hiring, managing and paying all subcontractors. In addition, they must attest that they will not put the property up for sale, lease or management agreement for 12 months after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. They must also call for and be present for all inspections during construction.

When is a general contractor required for a modular home?

When the setup costs and other ancillary costs are $30,000 or more.

Is the homeowner recovery fund fee collected for commercial projects?

No, the homeowners recovery fund fee is collected only on single family attached or detached residential permits.

Is there a Homeowners Recovery Fund fee for apartment units?

No.

How do you define project cost?

Project cost as defined by G.S. 87-10(a1) is the value of the project minus the cost of the land and ancillary improvements to the land.

How can I get a copy of our county license roster?

Submit a written request to info@nclbgc.org and specify which county you would like a roster for. Or you can access the Board’s mobile app which is available to download at no cost on either the Google Play store for android devices or the Apple store for Apple devices.