State Agency Warns Wildfire Victims About Rebuilding
ALPINE, San Diego County — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) warns victims of the Alpine wildfire to be cautious when hiring contractors to rebuild after the recent wildfire. Some unscrupulous or unlicensed contractors may take advantage of homeowners who are anxious to rebuild the CSLB cautions.
"Don't let a natural disaster turn into a second man-made disaster by hiring the first contractor who comes along. Protect your biggest investment -your home- by hiring only licensed contractors and checking them out with the CSLB," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands.
The CSLB, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, maintains a website and toll-free telephone system from which consumers can verify a contractor's license status, free of charge, 24 hours a day. Also available from the CSLB are free consumer publications.
Any contracting job-from landscape to remodeling-that totals $500 or more (materials and labor) requires that the contractor have a license from the Contractors State License Board. To become licensed, a contractor must pass an examination, verify four years of journey-level experience, and carry a license bond.
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when dealing with a building contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license.
- Verify the contractor's license by going on-line at www.cslb.ca.gov or toll-free at (800) 321-CSLB
- Do not pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment
- Do not pay cash, and do not let the payments get ahead of the work
- Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract
- Contact the CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor.
The Contractors State License Board licenses more than 278,000 contractors in California and investigates 30,000 complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors every year.
CONTACT: Lynette Blumhardt at (916) 255-3915
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