SACRAMENTO — In the wake of heavy rain, mudslides, flooding and their aftermath, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) reminds California property owners to stay vigilant when it comes to contracting for clean-up or repairs. Sometimes what appears to be the cheapest solution to remove a fallen tree, fix a downed fence, or patch a leaky roof may not be the wisest choice.
Consumers can use CSLB™s online resources to check the license status of the contractor they plan to hire, and to get tips on home repair and improvement choices. Any construction job valued at $500 or more in labor and materials must be done by a state-licensed contractor. California Business & Professions Code requires all licensees to carry workers compensation insurance coverage for their employees and to purchase a contractor license bond.
Now that Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a State of Emergency in several coastal, Central Valley, and Southern California counties, anyone caught contracting without a California contractor license can potentially be charged with a felony and subject to up to $10,000 in fines and three years in state prison (Business and Professions Code section 7028.16). In areas that are not state or federally-declared disaster areas, penalties are generally misdemeanors.
“A state-licensed contractor is the right choice when looking for a legitimate, qualified home repairperson”especially in an urgent situation,” said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. “A CSLB-licensed contractor who is skilled in the specific trade you are seeking is not likely to leave you in the lurch when it comes to properly completing the job at a fair price.”
For tree trimming and removal jobs where the tree is 15 feet or higher and the job is more than $500, the contractor must be state-licensed. Business & Professions Code allows a gardener to do incidental pruning on trees less than 15 feet and under a cost of $500 without a CSLB license.
CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when soliciting bids from a home improvement contractor:
• Hire only licensed contractors, and ask to see the license and photo identification to make sure the person is who they claim to be.
• Dont rush into repairs, no matter how badly they are needed.