CSLB Urges Homeowners to Hire Licensed Contractors After Humboldt County Earthquake

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December 20, 2022 CSLB #22-13

CSLB Media Contacts

Katherine White
Chief of Public Affairs
  Natalie Watmore
Information Officer

 CSLB Urges Homeowners to Hire Licensed Contractors After Humboldt County Earthquake

 SACRAMENTO, CA After a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Humboldt County Tuesday morning, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is reminding homeowners to use licensed contractors for any repairs above $500.

Officials have reported widespread damage around Humboldt County, particularly in the Eel River Valley. After a disaster, CSLB’s mission is to help ensure unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors do not take advantage of consumers.

Homeowners should use CSLB’s Find My Licensed Contractor feature to build personalized lists of licensed contractors in their area. They should always check all contractors’ license numbers on the CSLB website and check each contractor’s pocket license and picture ID to make sure it’s the same person. A CSLB-issued state license is required for any construction job of $500 or more (labor and/or materials).

“Disaster survivors take a huge risk when they hire unlicensed contractors,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “Most are not properly insured and likely don’t have the skills or knowledge to perform the work.”

Homeowners should be aware that CSLB offers a designated Disaster Help Center section online, which provides publications that can be downloaded or ordered. These include “Debris Removal and Construction Scams,” “After a Disaster, Don’t Get Scammed,” and “What You Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor.” In addition, information can be requested by calling CSLB’s Disaster Hotline, 800-962-1125, staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or via the automated assistance line, 800-321-CSLB (2752).

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Don’t rush into repairs or cleanup, no matter how badly they’re needed.

Don’t sign over any payment checks from your insurance company.

Work with your local building department to make sure you understand the rebuilding process and take advantage of all services they can provide.

Hire only California-licensed contractors. Ask to see the license. The license number must be on all ads, contracts, and business cards.

Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract. Don’t necessarily take the lowest bid, especially if it’s much less than other bids.

Don’t rush into decisions and don’t hire the first contractor who comes along.

Don’t pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000 — whichever is less.

Don’t pay cash, and don’t let the payments get ahead of the work. Only pay for work as it is completed to your satisfaction.

Keep a job file of all project papers, including correspondence and copies of all payments.

Avoid making the final payment until you’re satisfied with the job.

For more information, visit CSLB’s website, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

About CSLB: CSLB operates under the umbrella of the Department of Consumer Affairs and licenses and regulates nearly 285,000 contractors in California. In 2021, CSLB helped consumers recover more than $44 million in ordered restitution.