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Tips to Homeowners

November 09, 1986|Armand L. Fontaine

Question: I am an unlicensed contractor and have been doing small jobs here in California and out of state for the past eight years. I have tried to get a contractors license, but because the work that I have done is technically illegal and I have not usually worked for licensed contractors, I fail to qualify for a license. Is there any way that I can do so legally?

Answer: As a result of recent legislation signed by the governor, effective Jan. 1, 1987 to Jan. 1, 1988, there will be a one-time-only amnesty, during which any person contracting without a license can apply for a license. This bill provides that any work required to be performed by a licensed contractor which was performed by an applicant, who is neither licensed or exempted from licensure, may be used as experience until Jan. 1, 1988. However, after Jan. 1, 1988, you would no longer be eligible and the issuance of citations for non-licensed work will increase substantially in penalty fees from $1,500 to no more than $4,500.

In other recent legislation, the amount exempted from license requirement has gone from a $200 total to $300. The State Contractors License Board expects that as many as 50,000 unlicensed contractors will apply for license during this amnesty period.

Q: How can I tell how long a contractor has been licensed by looking at his pocket license?

A: You can determine how long a contractor has had his license by looking at the license number printed on his pocket license. Recently, Ojai Valley Plumbing and Mechanical Inc. received contractors' license Number 500,000. This is the number of licenses that have been issued since the early 1930s when the licensing law was first enacted.

Therefore, contractor's license in the 400,000 category is relatively new. There are currently approximately 180,000 licensees in the state of California; about a third of these are inactive licenses which are kept by the contractor in case he or she has a need to reenter the business, and allows him or her to do so without having to take additional examinations.

You can also call the state Contractors License Board to obtain the date of issuance of the original license, by providing them with the name and the license number of the contractor.

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