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Question DetailsAsked on 6/27/2017

I was asked to get a "general liability and workman’s compensation" by the city on my own house, can they do that?

I live in the state of NY and i was asked to get a "general liability and workman’s compensation" for work that i will be doing on my own home. Why do I need one for my own home? As a side note this is not my primary home.

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1 Answer


Glad you added that side note - makes a BIG difference.

IF you are doing the work alone - no employees, then you are exempted from the worker's comp part and actually cannot by law have worker's comp insurance on yourself.

It may be you failed to mark an owner-occupied box on the permit application so they think you are acting as a contractor, or need to attach a affidavit of exemption (NY Workers Comp Bopard form CE-200 as I recall) to prove your exemption from that requirement.

As to the liability part you would have to do some research on that - but generally while a homeowner can work on their own house without having to meet contractor requirements, that generally only applies to their primary residence WHICH THEY ARE ACTIVELY LIVING IN - so in your case, a second home where you do not live does not qualify. A vacation home or seasonal use home or such which is not rented or leased out MIGHT or might not meet that definition of owner-occupied home.

It is also possible that your Homeowner's or Landlord's property insurance has the liability coverage they want, nd all you need is a Certificate of Insurance from your agent as proof of coverage.

Worse, generally in NY EXCEPT on your primary owner-occupied residence, and certainly on rental properties, you are not allowed to do work requiring a contractor be licensed if a contractor were doing it. You can generally do replacement of architectural features (cabinets, paneling, painting, finish flooring or carpeting, etc) - but not anything involving utilities (other than minor items like light bulb replacement or installing a rebuildkit in a fauceet or toilet or such) or any structural work, because it is considered that you are working as a "contractor" in that instance.

Read up on the building permit exemptions at local and state building department websites - but basically in your case almost any structural or utility work would have to be done by a licensed cntractor. There are exemptions commonly for wood decks and patios and such not over X feet from the ground (from 3-6 feet depending on locale, commonly) but generally still have to have plans and permits and inspection but can be owner-built in most cases.

As to the liability insurance requirement - if you are the only one doing the work - I suspect that can be waived UNLESS you are doing work in the public right-of-way, because that contractor insurance requirement is primarily intended to protect the homeowner, which you are. You might have to research an exemption for that, or get a waiver on the basis you (and your family) will be the only people present during the work.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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