State agency offers tips for consumers seeking storm damage repairs

With residents cleaning up and looking to repair storm damage, the Contractors State License Board has issued some tips for hiring a contractor.

California law prohibits contracting for home improvement or construction jobs with combined labor and materials costs of more than $500 without a state-issued contractor license, according to a board news release. Residents can verify a contractor’s license through the Contractors State License Board website,, or by calling the agency’s toll-free line, 800-321-2752.

The agency stressed that contractors must hold a valid California contractor license in the appropriate classification to perform work on homes or other structures damaged by the recent storms. The agency noted that this is important for residents of Sierra communities, where contractors licensed in Nevada may seek work.

Contractors can use either a service and repair contract, or a standard home improvement contract for flood repair work, according to the news release, which outlined what is allowed under each:

Service and Repair Contract:

  • The consumer must be the one who contacts the contractor to request work on short notice, for a specific repair.
  • The total price for labor and materials must be $750 or less.
  • The contract must not include any goods or services beyond what is reasonable and necessary to repair the problem noted in the original contact with the consumer.
  • No payments, including down payment, are required until the work is completed. The service and repair contractor may charge only one service fee.
  • There is no three-day right to cancel the contract once it is signed.
  • No further work can be done without a standard home improvement contract.

Standard Home Improvement Contract:

  • The contract is not for urgent service and repair, and either the contractor or the consumer can initiate contact.
  • The total price for labor and materials is $500 or more.
  • The customer has until midnight of the third business day after signing the contract to cancel
  • The down payment can be only 10 percent of the total contract price or $1,000, whichever is less.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy