New Law in 2007 Cracks down on Old Contracting Problem
Contractors State License Board has new laws going into effect in January
SACRAMENTO — The closure of a loophole is tightening the noose around illegal contractors who try to skirt the law by operating with someone else's license number. This is one of the new laws taking effect at the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) in January 2007.
The law created by AB2897 makes it a criminal charge for anyone involved with a revoked license (member, officer, director, owner, or partner) to knowingly let the revoked person act as a contractor or hire revoked licensees as anything other than a non-supervising employee.
"Some individuals have tried to get around a revoked license by operating with another license taken out by friends or family members," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "This breaks the cycle of illegal operation."
One example is a contractor, Richard Ladd Turek from the San Diego area, who had his license revoked, was later caught using his wife's license number and then his father's license number to continue to contract and harm consumers. July 27, 2006, Richard Turek pleaded no contest to contracting without a license and was sentenced to three years summary probation and a $1,200 fine. However, pursuant to AB2897 a violation of this section is now a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than four thousand five hundred dollars ($4,500), by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than neither 30 days nor more than one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment.
The CSLB urges consumers to verify a building contractor's license.
- Verify the contractor's license by checking online or via CSLB's automated phone service at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752)
- Ask for personal identification to make sure the license matches the contractor.
Other new laws taking place at the Contractor's Board as of January 1, 2007 include:
- Workers Compensation
AB 881) Workers compensation will be mandatory for C-39 Roofers. Other licensees can still get by without it, if they do not have employees. Most roofers need workers to do the job. But, it was proven that a significant number were not reporting that they had workers.
- Bond Amount Increases
The amount for a contractor bond goes up from $10,000 to $12,500. (Business and professions code section 7071.9). This is the bond that all licensed contractors are required to have in California. It is money that homeowners, employees or others hurt by a licensee can file against for restitution.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 304,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2005-06, the CSLB helped consumers get more than $36 million in restitution.
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