Friday, October 26, 2007

Contractors Working in Natural Disaster Areas Must be Licensed

With much of southern California now recovering from this week’s devastating fires, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding all contractors that they must hold a valid California contractor's license, in the appropriate classification, in order to perform most work on homes and other structures damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster.

Some out-of-state contractors and unlicensed California contractors want to help with rebuilding in disaster areas. However, it is illegal and punishable as a felony to perform contracting work in a declared disaster area without a California contractor's license. Punishment may include a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 16 months in state prison.

The CSLB along with other agencies such as the Department of Insurance, local district attorney's offices, sheriff's departments, and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services conduct undercover sweeps in disaster zones, and check the licenses of contractors working or soliciting work in these areas.

"Some unlicensed contractors have good intentions and want to help homeowners rebuild." said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "But, the reality is, they must be tested and licensed by the CSLB to do so legally,"

Anyone who contracts for or bids on a job that totals $500 or more (labor and materials) must hold a contractor's license from the CSLB. There are exceptions, including working as an employee of a licensed contractor or taking jobs that are valued at less than $500.

Before selecting a contractor, homeowners are urged to verify a contractor's license on the CSLB's Web site,, to see if it is active and in the right classification for the work to be done. Homeowners can also check for legal complaints, the correct business name, address and workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees.

1 comment:

RJ said...

Hi Suzanne,

Great blog post. It is extremely important that we keep delivering this message. You can never say hire a licensed contractor to many times! Good for you.

Best Regards