Contractors Board Teams with City of Rancho Cordova to Shut Down Potentially Dangerous Apartment Complex Renovations
Shoddy work appears to have been done by unlicensed contractors
RANCHO CORDOVA — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) teamed up and supported the City of Rancho Cordova's Enforcement and Building Safety Department to go after potentially dangerous renovations at an apartment complex on January 6. That's when the City issued 18 "Do Not Occupy" notices and turned off the power to 18 unoccupied apartment units undergoing renovations at the La Loma Gardens apartments (2104 West La Loma Drive).
After receiving complaints, the CSLB and City building officials inspected the property and found substandard and unsafe construction had taken place, along with a myriad of code violations. In addition, the owners did not get the required building permits and appeared to be using unlicensed contractors to do the work.
"This work illustrates why homeowners should only hire licensed contractors for this type of work," said Contractors State License Board Registrar Steve Sands. "The owners here are very lucky no one was hurt because of the shoddy work. It's going to cost them a lot more to fix all these problems than it would to have hired a licensed contractor in the first place."
"Issuing 'Do Not Occupy' notices is a pretty drastic measure, but this is a serious situation," says Tom Trimberger, the City of Rancho Cordova Building Official. "We've found several areas that are substandard; improperly installed appliances, illegal sheds, etc."
There are 22 other units in the apartment complex that are currently occupied. At this point the City is not moving those people out. "Fortunately we believe we caught this at the moment where things can be turned around and the units brought into compliance," said Trimberger.
CSLB investigators are now trying to identify anyone who worked on the project to determine if they were properly licensed by the state. By law, contractors working on any job totaling $500 or more for labor and materials must be licensed by the CSLB. To become licensed, a contractor must pass a licensing examination; verify at least four years of journey-level experience. California contractors must carry a license bond, and provide workers' compensation insurance for employees. A property owner's home insurance policy could be at risk if unlicensed laborers have an accident while performing home repairs.
The CSLB offers these tips to anyone hiring a contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors
- Verify the license owner, business name and address and ask for a picture I.D.
- Verify the contractor's license at www.cslb.ca.gov or call 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
- Get three bids and check references
- Get a written contract
- Do not pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less
- Do not let payments get ahead of the work
- Do not pay cash
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 297,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2004-05, the CSLB helped consumers get more than $36 million in restitution. To check out a contractor's license, visit our Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov or call (800) 321-CSLB (2752).
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