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Can contractors license be suspeded?


A contractor, hired by a property manager, did shoddy work to my property and claimed himself to be licensed. Come payment time, I find out he is unlicensed and he shows someone else's license. I do not pay him because he did not correct the work he did. He has made our lives miserable by having his laborers file liens and small claims lawsuit, but never acting on any of it. He now has a license, can I still file a complaint to the State License Board for his activities as an unlicensed contractor? Will his license be suspended?

1 reply

Jul 17, 2019
I'm really sorry to hear about that - that sounds like a nightmare of a situation. Though, I'm glad further action to recover (alleged) debts haven't been taken. While I can't be sure whether a complaint might lead to a contractor's suspension, a complaint could certainly be made to the <strong>California Contractors State License Board ("CSLB") about a contractor's behavior. And, for a serious violation, suspension of a license would definitely be a possibility. For more background on when contractors licenses will be suspended by the CSLB, here's a great resource: Major Reasons for Suspension.

The CSLB both investigates the actions of licensed contractors and investigates activities by unlicensed contractors. So, if a contractor illegally performed work they weren't yet licensed to perform, the CSLB would have the authority to look into that. Further, with the contractor being now licensed, any actions taken after obtaining licensure could certainly affect the standing of that license - and actions taken prior to licensure might be in play, too. However, it's hard to predict exactly how the Contractors State License Board might come down on a particular issue. But, it's likely worth trying for an owner who's been harassed by a questionable contractor. Of course, when making a complaint, it's important to provide as much documentation and as many facts as possible to try and show the big picture of the situation. For more information on making a complaint with the California Contractors State Licensing Board: How to File a Complaint with the Contractors State Licensing Board.

Finally, regarding having to fight off lien claims and other payment claims, § 8470 the California Civil Code may help to provide some relief if a filed lien is actually enforced. Under that section, a contractor must defend an owner against a lien enforcement action brought by someone who provided work to the contractor. So, with that in mind, it might be helpful to notify a contractor of this responsibility in order to have them call off the dogs on their workers filing lien claims.

Further, to go on the offensive, § 8422 of the California Civil Code may help. If a lien claim contains false information, and if the false information was included with an intent to slander the title of the owner or to defraud them, then the lien claim can be invalidated by the court. Plus, the claimant may be liable for damages, and an owner could always bring a separate cause action against the claimant for something like slander of title.
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