Question: I have just started a home-improvement project and I have been receiving 20-day notice-of-lien forms from suppliers and contractors. Does this mean that my home is subject to a lien?
Answer: No. California law states that material dealers and subcontractors are supposed to send out a preliminary 20-day notice of lien to the homeowner. This puts the homeowner on notice that the firm has delivered materials or is about to do work for the prime or general contractor.
Many prime or general contractors, however, use their influence with material houses and with subcontractors to not send out this form, so you may receive them from some of your subcontractors and material suppliers, while others ignore this requirement.
Q: What type of insurance should a home-improvement contractor have for work on my home?
A: By California law, all contractors who have employees are required to have worker's compensation insurance. Therefore, request your contractor to furnish you with a certificate of insurance from his or her worker's compensation insurance company. This will guarantee that you will be notified in case of any cancellation of the policy.
I would also obtain the contractor's state license bond number and the name of the bonding company. Then verify these with the Contractors State License Board.
Q: I am considering remodeling my kitchen and would like to select quality appliances and cabinets from one source.
A: California Kitchens, 2305 W. Alameda Ave. in Burbank, has a showroom with 10 working kitchens that include carefully selected brand names of appliances and cabinets. The company has a kitchen design, planning and cabinet sales department, virtually making the store a "one stop" location for the major portion of your kitchen needs.
They have regularly scheduled demonstrations, and they have everything from ovens to bars on display. You can even get built-in soda fountains, carbonated beverage dispensers, wine chillers, beer tappers and under-counter refrigerators for those persons who really want an extravagant program.
Fontaine is president of the Western Regional Master Builders Assn. and a director of the American Building Contractors Assn. He will answer questions concerning home improvements. Phone 213/653-4084 or write him at 6404 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 850, Los Angeles 90048-5510.