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HomeContractingDC introduces legislation to protect homeowners from construction-related property damage

DC introduces legislation to protect homeowners from construction-related property damage

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has introduced legislation requiring special liability coverage that would protect District homeowners from construction-related damage caused by neighboring projects.

In conjunction with this proposal, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) launched the  to better inform and protect property owners before they are negatively affected by a damaging construction project, the mayor’s office said in a June 6 statement.

“Homeownership is critical for helping residents stay and build wealth in the District, and this legislation will add to our toolkit of resources that support homeowners in maintaining and protecting their homes,” Bowser said. “With the Insurance Education Center, we also have another tool for helping residents and local businesses navigate a complex system so that they can stay educated, informed, and insured.”

The “Protecting Adjacent and Adjoining Property Owners from Construction Damage Amendment Act of 2022” would require property owners, contractors, or persons applying for a permit for construction or demolition work to obtain liability insurance to insure adjacent and adjoining property owners for loss or damage arising out of that work.

Current District law requires contractors to provide proof of liability insurance before they may be issued a license. Furthermore, the DC Building Code requires contractors and building owners to take appropriate precautions to prevent damage to adjoining buildings during construction or demolition. However, no requirements exist to obtain liability insurance coverage for adjacent or adjoining properties. The proposed legislation would provide additional protection for District residents’ during construction projects.

“Once enacted, this proposed legislation will close gaps in insurance requirements and provide coverage for adjoining and adjacent District homeowners negatively impacted by damage during construction, addition, alteration, repair, demolition or raze,” said DCRA Director Ernest Chrappah. “Under the leadership of Mayor Bowser, this new initiative builds on DCRA’s multiple platforms designed to help protect residents, such as the DCRA Contractor Rating System; Scout, the online consolidated database for property information; and now, the Insurance Education Center.”

The DCRA Insurance Education Center launches with the participation of Shield Indemnity, Inc. and Lemonade, a publicly-traded insurance carrier. The center:

  • Helps consumers navigate the often-complex insurance industry, makes fundamental information available to inform, and empowers consumers so they can better identify questions to raise to an insurance professional;
  • Includes a quick and easy way to compare and add coverage for initial or additional insurance coverage for homeowners and contractors, with a goal to ensure they are educated, informed, and insured; and
  • Provides information on other licensed professionals such as tow truck companies, driving schools, valet services, and parking facilities.

The Insurance Education Center can be viewed at dcra.dc.gov/insurancecenter.

Mark Buckshon
Mark Buckshonhttps://washingtonconstructionnews.com
Mark Buckshon is the publisher and interim editor of Washington Construction News. He is also president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He combines a journalism and business background, and has published construction trade publications for more than 30 years, after an earlier career in journalism, which culminated when he lived through the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in 1978-80 as a sub-editor for the Bulawayo Chronicle and a correspondent for a Canadian news service.

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