Check Out Your Contractor and Protect Yourself
- Did you contact the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to check the status of the contractor’s license?
- (Contact the CSLB at 1-800-321-CSLB (2752) or visit them at www.cslb.ca.gov)
- Did you get at least 3 local references from the contractors you are considering? Did you call them?
- Building Permits – Will the contractor get a permit before the work starts?
- Check out the contract
- Did you read and understand your contract?
- Does the 3-day right to cancel a contract apply to you? (Contact the CSLB if you don’t know.)
- Does the contract tell you when the work will start and end?
- Does the contract include a detailed description of the work to be done, the material to be used, and equipment to be installed? (This description should include brand names, model numbers, quantities, and colors. Specific descriptions now will prevent disputes later.)
- Are you required to pay a down payment? (If you are, the down payment should never be more than 10% of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.)
- Is there a schedule of payments? (If there is a schedule of payments, you should pay only as work is completed and not before. There are some exceptions – contact the CSLB to find out what they are.)
- Did your contractor give you a “Notice to Owner,” a warning notice describing liens and ways to prevent them? (Even if you pay your contractor, a lien can be placed on your home by unpaid laborers, subcontractors, or material suppliers. A lien can result in you paying twice, or in some cases, losing your home in a foreclosure. Check the “Notice to Owner” for ways to protect yourself.)
- Did you know changes or additions to your contract must all be in writing? (Putting changes in writing reduces the possibility of a later dispute.)