I Have a Problem with a Home Improvement Contractor –
|If you decide to file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board before you file a lawsuit in small claims court, make sure that your time to file a claim in court (‘statute of limitations’) doesn’t run out.
You have 4 years to file for an apparent construction problem (or 10 years, if the problem was hidden and it took time to find out about the problem). Notice that it is the same amount of time to file a complaint (beginning on the same date) either with the CSLB or in small claims court.
If your problem isn’t resolved by the CSLB about 6 months before the time to file in court runs out, seriously think about filing in court at that time.
Licensed Contractors – You may sue in small claims court or file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) for:
- Work that is done wrong;
- Work that is not finished or finished on time;
- Not paying subcontractors, material suppliers or employees;
- Not following building code requirements, not getting the required permits, etc.; or,
- False, misleading or deceptive advertising
Unlicensed Contractors – You may sue in small claims court or file a complaint with the CSLB for the same issues as licensed contractors, plus for being unlicensed.
It is illegal to contract to do home repairs or remodeling without a license for more than $500 (including labor and materials). Therefore, if you file in small claims court you may ask for any money you paid beyond $500 -- up to $7,500, if you are a person or sole proprietor suing, or up to $5,000 if you are a company other than a sole proprietorship.
Check on the License
To see if the contractor is licensed or not, check the Contractors State License Board website or call 1-800-321-2752.
If you win a judgment against a licensed contractor, you may file a copy of the judgment with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). If the judgment is due to a repair, remodel or construction issue, the CSLB may suspend the contractor’s license until the judgment is paid.
- To learn how to file a case in small claims court, click here.
- To file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board, click here.