With the recent spate of wildfires in Northern and Southern California and other catastrophes throughout the country, many people need to repair or rebuild their homes and properties.
However, now more than ever, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) urges consumers to be extremely cautious and do your homework before hiring any contractor.
“While fire survivors are understandably eager to get their lives back in order, it’s important to hire only a California-licensed contractor to prevent being victimized a second time by those not qualified or licensed to perform the needed work,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “Because so many homes have been destroyed or damaged, it may take time to find the right licensed contractor, but it’s worth the effort to protect yourself and your property.”
Fogt also encourages consumers to visit the Disaster Help Center at www.cslb.ca.gov and learn more about the rebuilding process, and how to hire a contractor.
Consumers need to be aware that contractors working on a job totaling $500 or more for labor and materials, must be licensed by CSLB. To become licensed, a contractor must pass a licensing examination, verify at least four years of journey-level experience, carry a license bond, and pass a criminal background check.
Here are some other important tips from the CSLB consumers should consider when hiring a building contractor.
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license.
- Verify the contractor’s license by checking online at cslb.ca.gov.
- Don’t rush into decisions and don’t hire the first contractor who comes along.
- Don’t pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000—whichever is less.
- Don’t pay cash, and don’t let the payments get ahead of the work.
- Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
- In a federal or state declared disaster area consumers have the right to cancel a signed contract within seven (7) business days.
- Contact CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. CSLB licenses and regulates almost 290,000 contractors in California, and is regarded as one of the leading consumer protection agencies in the United States. In fiscal year 2016-17, CSLB helped recover just over $47 million in ordered restitution for consumers.