Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CONTRACTORS STATE LICENSE BOARD URGES NAPA EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS TO ONLY HIRE LICENSED CONTRACTORS FOR REPAIRS

Safe and Legal Contracting Tips for Property Owners (CSLB)

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is urging residents of Napa Valley and surrounding areas to only hire California-licensed contractors if they experienced damage to their homes, outbuildings, or businesses following the 6.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent aftershocks.

Unfortunately, unlicensed people show up after natural disasters and try to take advantage of victims at a vulnerable time. Homeowners need to be cautious about hiring reputable people to repair their property. It only takes a few minutes to check the status of a contractor license on CSLB's website (www.cslb.ca.gov or CheckTheLicenseFirst.com) or by calling 800-962-1125 Monday through Friday 8am - 5pm or the automated assistance line at 800-321-2752.

Always use CSLB licensed contractors for any job over $500 or more. Licensees have a minimum of four years of journey-level experience in the trade for which they are licensed, and have passed tests related to their craft and California contracting law. CSLB licensees arlso are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for employees to ensure the homeowner is not financially liable in the event of a work-related injury on their property.

CSLB urges everyone to follow these guidelines before hiring a contractor:

  • Don't hire the first contractor who comes along;
  • Don't rush into repairs, no matter how badly they're needed;
  • Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see their license and photo ID;
  • Always check the license number on CSLB's website at www.cslb.ca.gov or CheckThelicenseFirst.com
  • Don't pay more than 10 percent or $1,000 whichever is less, as a down payment. There is an exception for about two dozen licensees; these exceptions are noted on the CSLB's website.
  • Don't pay in cash, and don't let payments get ahead of the work; and
  • Get at least three bids, check references, and get a written contract.

CSLB also reminds residents to make sure their contractor pulls all of the necessary permits and makes sure the required inspection from city or county building departments are conducted for any construction, reconstruction, or installation of air conditioners, heaters, or water heaters.