A.R.S. 32-1151 Unlicensed Contractor Arizona Law

In Arizona, the legislature has created a statutory scheme that sends a very clear signal: Contractors who engage in contracting without a license do so at their own peril. For example, a contractor may not commence or maintain a civil action to collect compensation for services requiring a license if the contractor was not licensed when the contract sued upon was entered and when the alleged cause of action arose. A.R.S. 32-1153 (2002). See also Crowe v. Hickman's Egg Ranch, Inc., 202 Ariz. 113, 116-17, P17-18, 41 P.3d 651, 654-55 (App. 2002) (declining to recognize a judicial exception for the equitable argument of ratification); B & P Concrete, Inc. v. Turnbow, 114 Ariz. 408, 410, 561 P.2d 329, 331 (App. 1977) ("In barring suit by an unlicensed contractor, there seems little doubt that the legislative intent is to furnish protection to the public by strict licensing requirements even where harsh consequences fall upon those who do contracting work in good faith without an appropriate license."). But see Aesthetic Prop. Maint., Inc. v. Capital Indem. Corp., 183 Ariz. 74, 77-78, 900 P.2d 1210, 1213-14 (1995) (holding that substantial compliance with the contractor licensing requirements could be adequate to satisfy the policy of 32-1153); cf. Bentivegna v. Powers Steel & Wire Prods., Inc., 206 Ariz. 581, 586-88, PP18-24, 81 P.3d 1040, 1045-47 (App. 2003) (declining to interpret 32-1153 as providing for an "automatic restitution" remedy in a civil action). Additionally, an unlicensed contractor may be charged criminally for contracting without a license, see A.R.S. 32-1151, -1164.