CSLB Reassigning Application Technicians

CSLB Reassigning TechniciansI was told recently that the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), Licensing Department, has reassigned several of their license application technicians to their call center.

This is good news, bad news.

Good news because their call center has lacked competent people for a very long time.  You could call three times and get three different answers to the same question.  These long-time employees, many with over ten years at the CSLB, will bring valuable knowledge to the center and the consumers that call them.

The bad news is that they’ll be hiring new people for the licensing department to backfill the positions vacated by the move.  Why is that bad news?  Because these new techs won’t know anything about the licensing process.  It will take months for them to be trained to a point where they’re comfortable in what they’re doing and to have a good understanding of the processes and intricacies involved in contractor applications.

Not only that, but the comfortable short-term backlogs we’ve been experiencing will be no more.  It’s possible that the backlogs could increase to months instead of weeks, as it is now.

After 17 years of working for and dealing with the CSLB, they still manage to baffle me with their ill-conceived ideas and hair-brained schemes.  It’s almost as if they are not capable of looking one or two steps ahead.

It’s unlikely they will un-do this bad idea, so for all of us who process apps and the people who are applying for a license will be paying the price for the foreseeable future.

CSLB Fees will Increase

Effective July 1, 2017, CSLB fees will increase.

CSLB 2017 Fee Increase

 

 

It’s gonna get a little bit more expensive to obtain, maintain, and change/update a contractors license!

 

Application and Licensing FeesCurrentFee as of July 1, 2017
Fee
1.      Original Application$300$330
(for those taking exam or requesting waiver for one classification)
2.      Additional Classification (each) (with waiver or joint venture application for original license)$75$75 (unchanged)
3.      Initial License (good for two years)$180$200
4.      Re-Examination$60$60 (unchanged)
5.      Additional Classification Application (for an existing license)$75$150
6.      Replacing the Qualifying Individual Application (for an existing license)$75$150
7.      License Reactivation Application$360$400
(for licenses expired for more than five years)
8.      Joint Venture Application$480$530
(total fee for one classification – application fee plus initial license fee)
(see #2 above for additional classification fee)
9.      Add New Personnel Application$100
(for existing corporate or limited liability company licenses – not including the qualifying individual; see above for replacing the qualifier)
10.   Add New Limited Partner Application$100
(for existing partnership license)
11.   Home Improvement Salesperson Registration Application$75$83
12.   Fingerprinting Fees – Paid to Live Scan Operator$49$49 (unchanged)
Dept. of Justice (DOJ) Processing Fee($32 DOJ &
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Processing Fee$17 FBI)
13.   Live Scan “Rolling Fees”VariesVaries
(each Live Scan site sets its own fee)
14.   Asbestos Certification Application$75$83
15.   Hazardous Substance Removal Certification Application$75$83
License and Registration Renewal FeesFor Licenses/For Licenses/
Registrations that expire on or before June 30, 2017Registrations that expire on or after 1 Jul 17
$360$400
16.   Active Timely Renewal (postmarked or hand delivered to CSLB on or before the expiration date)
17.   Active Delinquent Renewal$540$600
(postmarked or hand delivered to CSLB after the expiration date)
(renewal fee + penalty)
18.   Inactive Timely Renewal$180$200
(postmarked or hand delivered to CSLB on or before the expiration date)
19.   Inactive Delinquent Renewal$270$300
(postmarked or hand delivered to CSLB  after the expiration date)
(renewal fee + penalty)
20.   Home Improvement Salesperson Timely Renewal$75$83
(postmarked or hand delivered to CSLB on or before the expiration date)
21.   Home Improvement Salesperson Delinquent Renewal$100$124.50
(postmarked or hand delivered to CSLB after the expiration date)
(renewal fee + penalty)

CSLB Scrutinizing Workers Comp Exemptions

CSLB Scrutinizing Workers Comp ExemptionsThe Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is turning their attention to contractors who they believe should be carrying workers compensation.

In the newsletter article below, the CSLB discusses their plan to look into whether or not a licensee who submitted a workers comp exempt form should actually be carrying a workers comp policy.

Right off the top, any licensee who has employees must and should have workers comp. It’s the law. It benefits the contractor and his employee’s and their families. If you know me, you know that I’m always on the side of the law. If, or course, it just and not abusive.

Regarding the CSLB plan… if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s a governmental agency abusing its power and authority…. Yet again!

What they’re saying is that if you hold the A-Gen Eng., C8 Concrete, C10 Electrical, C20 HVAC, C36 Plumbing, or the C46 Solar classification, you could be part of their “random” checks. I wonder why they didn’t include the B-Gen??

As with everything else the CSLB does randomly, what exactly is their process for choosing their random sample? Throw darts at a board, pull license numbers out of a hat?

The law states: “Pursuant to Section 7065, the registrar shall conduct a comprehensive investigation of no less than 3 percent of applications filed under this section to ensure that the applicants met the experience requirements of this section.” This is the go to section for a lot of what the CSLB licensing department does. They throw this thing out like it was a coup-fourre card in a Mille Borne game.CSLB Coup Forre

They must look at an app and decide there is something about it and…..BAM!! 7065 COUP FORRE! Unless of course your application is one of the critical classifications, then the minimum 3% rule turns into a mandatory 100% rule!

 

Anyway… back to the random workers comp sampling of the classifications listed above. I personally know plumbers, electricians, HVAC guys, and some B-Gen Bldg. guys who work alone. The fact that the cslb has selected those classifications to focus their attention shows they really have no clue what actually takes place outside of their doors.

A one man shop is going to get a call, letter, or visit from a CSLB enforcement rep and he’s going to have to stop everything he’s doing to prove that he doesn’t have employees. Just what every small business wants to deal with… the heavy hand of State Government. No thank you!

Begin article

Workers’ Comp Exemptions Will Get Extra Scrutiny From CSLB

CSLB will be taking a much closer look at licensees who file exemptions from having to purchase workers’ compensation (WC) insurance, particularly those working in trades likely to need a partner or employees.

At its December meeting, the Board agreed to a strategy to bring more contractors into compliance with California law on WC insurance. More than 50 percent of all licensees have filed WC exemptions with CSLB, a rate suspected to be too high considering the nature of the contracting work done.

Business and Professions Code section 7125 requires contractors to purchase a WC policy and submit proof to CSLB when an active license is issued, an inactive one reactivated, or at the time of renewal, unless the licensee does not employ anyone subject to California WC or files a certificate of self-insurance with CSLB. (All C-39 Roofing contractors, however, must carry WC insurance even if they work on their own.)

To identify contractors who may be improperly claiming a WC exemption, and encourage them to purchase WC policies for employees, CSLB’s Enforcement division will:

  • Perform an analysis and reach out to contractors registered with the state Department of Industrial Relations who bid on public works projects. CSLB staff will perform random checks of those contractors, and send letters to those claiming WC exemptions about the need to provide insurance if they employ workers.
  • Review a sampling of the overall consumer complaints that CSLB receives for contractor WC compliance.
  • Conduct random checks of licensees in classifications most likely to need employee labor, but who hold WC exemptions. Staff will look at those with C-46 SolarC-36 PlumbingC-20 Warm-Air Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning, C-10 ElectricalC-8 Concrete, and “A” General Engineering licensees who have declared they have no employees.
  • Review permit activity in partnering counties to determine if contractors pulling permits for large projects have WC insurance.
  • Coordinate with other state agencies to further identify WC violators. Representatives from CSLB, state Department of Insurance, and Division of Labor Standards will discuss ways to raise WC compliance among contractors.

Contractors who falsely claim WC exemptions are taking a great risk to save a little money. WC violators not only face CSLB disciplinary action, but they expose themselves and their clients to liability if uninsured workers get hurt on the job.

End of article

CSLB Changing the Rules

CSLB Changing the RulesThe CSLB is changing the rules again!

I spoke to an applicant today who’s application was voided by the CSLB.

After months of back and forth with the Contractors State License Board where they continued to ask for more and more documentation, they voided his application without offering the “options” letter. The “options” letter is something they’ve sent to countless other applicants. The letter gives the applicant the option of withdrawing the app, using someone else as a qualifier, or sending the app to a formal investigation. As you’ll see below, this applicant to not get the “options” letter. My question is why???

Did they change the rules again? And without any notification to anyone?

This particular applicant has an over abundance of experience, plus a college degree that should have given him at least up to two years of experience credit. With his experience and the overwhelming experience documentation he provided that covered more than 10 years (when only two years was required), why did they void his app?

Granted, there were some issues with the experience outline on the application (something I could have helped him avoid with my app review service), but the fact remains that he was not given the “options” letter. I firmly believe that if he’d been given the option of having a formal investigation he could have dealt with an investigator that actually has some construction experience… unlike those who work in the application unit of the CSLB who have none. The same people who were reviewing his application and made the determination to void his app.

We all know that the federal and state governments play by their own rules, but why can’t there be some consistency? How can anyone play the game when the rules are constantly changing?

Another issue I have with this particular application is that they granted an extended void date on January 8th. Did they grant a 30 days extension as is standard? No. If they had, the app would have been voided on February 8th. But they voided the app on January 26th! What the %*&# is going on here!!!

I gave the applicant some options, all of which we will pursue… bottom line… This kind of government abuse is unacceptable, and we as a society have to stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

Application is void

  • 08/24/2015 – APPLICATION RECEIVED
  • 08/31/2015 – PRINTED ACKNLDGMNT LTTR TO APPLCNT
  • 09/10/2015 – APPLICATION RETURNED FOR CORRECTION
  • 09/10/2015 – WORK EXPERIENCE BLANK/PROBLEM
  • 09/10/2015 – CRITICAL CLASS DUTIES NOT SPECIFIC
  • 09/10/2015 – CERTIFIER RELATIONSHIP DISCREPANCY
  • 09/10/2015 – SPEC PROJ – EXPERIENCE VERIFICATION
  • 09/10/2015 – ADD’L SELF EMPLOYMNT INFO REQUESTED
  • 10/16/2015 – RETURNED APP RECEIVED BACK AT CSLB
  • 10/23/2015 – CORRECTIONS SENT TO BE SCANNED
  • 10/23/2015 – APPLICATION RETURNED FOR CORRECTION
  • 10/23/2015 – WORK EXPERIENCE BLANK/PROBLEM
  • 10/23/2015 – CERT DUTIES STILL NOT ACCEPTABLE
  • 10/23/2015 – SPEC PROJ – EXPERIENCE VERIFICATION
  • 10/23/2015 – ADD’L SELF EMPLOYMNT INFO REQUESTED
  • 12/09/2015 – RETURNED APP RECEIVED BACK AT CSLB
  • 12/24/2015 – CORRECTIONS SENT TO BE SCANNED
  • 12/24/2015 – APPLICATION RETURNED FOR CORRECTION
  • 12/24/2015 – WORK EXPERIENCE BLANK/PROBLEM
  • 12/24/2015 – CERT INCOMPLETE
  • 12/24/2015 – CRITICAL CLASS DUTIES NOT SPECIFIC
  • 12/24/2015 – EMAILED CERTS FOR ADDL CORRECTION.
  • 01/08/2016 – EXTENDED VOID DATE
  • 01/08/2016 – RETURNED APP RECEIVED BACK AT CSLB
  • 01/08/2016 – CORRECTIONS SENT TO BE SCANNED
  • 01/13/2016 – APP SENT TO SUPERVISOR FOR REVIEW
  • 01/25/2016 – ROUTED TO EXP ANALYST FOR REVIEW
  • 01/26/2016 – APPLICATION RETURNED TO PROGRM TECH
  • 01/26/2016 – DOCS INSUFF – EXPER NOT VERIFIED
  • 01/26/2016 – APP VOID – APP NOT PROCESSED
  • 01/26/2016 – APPLICATION IS VOID
  • 01/26/2016 – VOID LETTER SENT

Don’t put yourself in this position where you’re dealing with the CSLB changing the rules on you! Let me help you!!

Contractor RMOs for Hire

The CSLB released their Winter 2015-16 newsletter last week. One article discussed contractor RMOs for hire.CSLB Gestapo Tactics

Section 7068.1 of the Business and Professions code states: …”responsible for exercising that direct supervision and control of his or her employer’s or principal’s construction operations to secure compliance with this chapter and the rules and regulations of the board.” And Code 823(b) states: “For purposes of Section 7068.1 of the Code, “direct supervision and control” includes any one or any combination of the following activities: supervising construction, managing construction activities by making technical and administrative decisions, checking jobs for proper workmanship, or direct supervision on construction job sites.”

823 states “any one or any combination,” so if you are using an RMO that is not directly related to your business you need to ensure that he/she is following these guidelines.

I talk to people almost daily who need to use an RMO who is not directly related to their business. I tell them that the RMO must be involved in the construction activities that will be conducted under the license and the same rules and responsibilities apply as they do to the license they currently hold.

What I think is at issue here is the broad definition of “direct supervision and control.” Does the RMO need to be on the job site to manage or make technical and admin decisions? Not according to the law. Remember, it states “any one or any combination” is allowed, that suggests “direct supervision on construction job sites” does not have to be a mandatory choice.

With this ambiguity I’m left wondering what the CSLB gestapo task force is finding during their “investigations”, what are they citing these contractors with, and what are the criminal cases truly about?

I’m sure any attorney worth his hourly fee would be able to punch holes in any CSLB case that involved 7068.1 and 823. So if you are using an RMO or you are an RMO and you do not have a direct relationship with the business, I suggest you become as active as possible with the work being done. Log all phone calls, keep all emails, review contracts and sign them if possible, review photographs, and yes… even drop by the job site if you can (even though the law cited by the CSLB does not require it).

Last comment…. if this is such a big problem that the CSLB had to create a “task force”, why don’t they just amend or remove B&P Code 7068.1? Get rid of the 20% rule altogether? Or is it easier to create an unregulated task force, pry into the business activities of licensee’s, write citations and criminal cases, and collect 100’s of thousands of dollars? Well…. they even say it themselves… “yielded big dividends”!

Full CSLB article below

RMOs-for-Hire Better Know What They’re Getting Into

CSLB has zeroed in on licensees who rent their services as Responsible Managing Officers (RMOs) for companies over which they have little or no control. Due to the work of a special CSLB task force that targets suspected RMO abuses, those who act as little more than paid license qualifier for companies are being identified and disciplined for violating state contractor law.

Contractors who serve as qualifiers for a company’s construction operations must exercise direct control and supervision, and, by law, maintain at least a 20 percent ownership stake in each firm for which the person acts as a qualifier. Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 7068.1 authorizes CSLB to discipline the licensed entity when the qualifier is not actively involved in the construction activities of the license they are representing. In addition to administrative penalties, the individual falsely serving as a qualifier on the license can be charged with a misdemeanor and be sentenced to serve up to six months in jail, and required to pay a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

CSLB’s effort to uncover straw men RMOs has yielded big dividends. There have been a total of 304 complaints filed against those suspected of misusing their qualifier status (many still under investigation), 31 accusations filed to revoke or suspend a license, 12 citations issued for violations of contractor law, 11 criminal cases filed by local district attorney’s offices, and $215,000 in restitution ordered for wronged consumers.

CSLB has strong words of caution for those who would enter these arrangements: If you act as an RMO and do not have active and financial involvement in the construction and business operations, you risk CSLB administrative penalties against your license(s) as well as criminal prosecution, regardless of whether you’re aware of substandard work being performed by unqualified individuals.

The task force also is watching for exam waiver requests from applicants suspected of only seeking to rent their name for a fee. CSLB also will seek to revoke qualifier status previously granted to anyone whose actions demonstrate they do not have an ownership stake or are not active decision makers listed on a license.

A review of BPC section 7065 will provide further explanation of examination waiver laws.

End of article

Very last comment…. do I think the CSLB should be taking action against the extremely small percentage of contractor RMOs for hire? Yes.  Should they create an unregulated task force with no oversight to invade the businesses of California contractors? …. Not just no, but hell no!

New C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor

C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair ContractorThe CSLB is proposing legislation to create a New C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor.

It’s about time!!

After years of forcing B General Contractor applicants to withdraw their applications because they couldn’t meet the unrealistic proof of experience requirements, the Contractors State License Board is actually doing something to help the industry! Shocker!!

Friday October 30th, the CSLB Licensing Committee will be holding a meeting to discuss the new C1 non structural remodel repair contractor classification.

It appears they realized that their creation of a list of critical classifications has actually been harming the consuming public, those who strive to become licensed contractors and business owners, the economy, and the construction industry as a whole. They even acknowledged, in writing, that their actions have created an “underground economy.” Can you believe it?!? The almighty, all knowing, all powerful Contractors State License Board admitted they screwed up and failed to fulfill their consumer protection mandate. These are historic times my friends!

C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor Details

This new C1 classification will allow the license holder to perform work that “provided that no load bearing portion of the existing structure is altered, added or moved; this includes footings, foundations, and weight bearing members.” Basically, it should allow the C1 contractor to bid, contract, and perform work that includes at least two unrelated trades that do not include framing.

Framing has been the nail in the coffin for many B General applicants. A very large percentage of B General applicants over the last 3 yrs have little to no framing experience, and many of those that did, did not have the paper documents to prove that experience. This new C1 classification will change all of that.

Here is the proposed language for the definition of a C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor:

832.01 Non-Structural Remodel/Repair Contractor A non-structural remodeling and repair contractor remodels and repairs existing structures of three (3) stories or less, built for support, shelter and enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or movable property of any kind; provided that no load bearing portion of the existing structure is altered, added or moved; this includes footings, foundations, and weight bearing members.

If you would like to read the entire committee agenda item, click here.

Looking forward, I see nothing that would stop this new C1 classification from becoming law. When it does become law, their will be a flood of new applicants who will have questions, and as always, I will be here to help them! I will also have C1 contractors exams study kits to prepare those who will be taking the exam.

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you updated on the new C1 Non Structural Remodel Repair Contractor as it unfolds.

 

Critical Classification Application Under Review

Critical Classification Application Under ReviewI’m often asked, pretty much daily, what should an applicant do when they are dealing with a critical classification application under review.

If you are applying for the C10 Electrical, B General Building, A General Engineering, C20 HVAC, etc. and your application is under review, this email Q&A and I had with a C10 applicant might also help you or somebody you know.

Q. Based on my application you looked at, what are the odds of them accepting it without requiring more documentation?

A. Slim to none. They’ve been asking all applicants with a critical classification for additional documents.

Q. If the odds are very low they accept as is then what do they increase by if I include documentation (1099s, permits, materials receipts, tax returns) with the application on the first submittal or should I wait for them to ask?

A. You should submit any/all documents you have with the app. If they find it acceptable, they’ll schedule you for the exam. If not, they’ll ask for more documentation.

Q. I have lots of different documentation but not a fully complete timeline record of EVERYTHING. Do they show any leniency to applicants who include lots of information from the start?

A. Not that I’ve experienced.

Q. I do have enough documented experience over the last ten years to get a B but would only consider that if it was a stepping stone which made it easier to get the C-10 later. Do you think this would help me to get the C-10 if I put off applying for 2 to 3 years? Could having a B potentially work against me getting a C-10 in two to three years?

A. To get either you’ll have to provide the written documentation. The B requires experience in framing and at least two unrelated trades. The C10 could be easier to get if your experience is directly and solely related to the c10. If you were to get the B and then apply for a c10 in a couple three years, it might be harder to show at least 4 yrs of c10 experience. Also, if you have the B you cannot bid on or sign contracts for a single trade like the c10.

Q. Would it help to get sign offs on shorter term experience from more B contractors who I have done electrical for?  This goes back to the more information included with the original submittal, does it decrease the odds of them requiring more documentation / increase the chances they accept the application as is.

A. Submitting more work experience forms does not generally help or hurt. They’ve made the certifier a moot point because of the documentation requirement.

Q. Does it carry any weight if I include some projects done for homeowners and include their permits, check written to me, materials receipts, and invoice?

A. That would help. But the permit would have to be in your name in order for you to get “credit” for it.

Q. Do you think submitting a 1099 for experience where the employer box is checked is a red flag and should be used as self-employment experience instead? I know that the experience with the C-10 i work for definitely is an employee relationship rather than a contract type, I show up when he tells me to show up and act on his direction under his supervision.

A. How does the CSLB look at 1099s in this regard? As a 1099 “employee” you are working as self-employed. Only if you are on payroll for the company would you be considered an employee.

Q. Based on the letter you attached in your previous email showing request for more info to that applicant,  if I were to get a similar letter and respond with not enough documentation then would that void my application or would there be another opportunity to submit more? When does the application usually drop dead?

A. If you did not submit enough documentation to satisfy the licensing department they would send you an “options letter.” This letter gives you the option to withdraw the app, use some other qualified individual to act as the qualifier on your license, or go to a formal investigation. If you choose the formal investigation, they will send you to the exams and an investigator will be assigned. That investigator will ask you for more/the same documentation that the licensing unit asked for. The investigator will also contact your certifiers to verify your experience. If the investigator does not approve of your experience you can either withdraw the app or they will deny your app. A denial means you’d have to wait a year before reapplying, and you’d have a denial flag on your name in their system.

Q. If I do submit my application and it ultimately gets tossed then can I re apply later with other documentation? Does the CSLB keep a copy of previous applications on file and refer back to those in this sort of scenario?

A. As answered in Q6, a denial has a one year waiting period. If you withdraw the app on your own, you can reapply at any time. The new app would be subjected to the same documentation and you’d have to re-submit everything plus any new documentation.

Q. The above question sorta relates to if it helps to apply for a B first and what experience is submitted with that. I would hate to shoot myself in the foot.

A. The issue is… when you apply for an additional classification, they will not accept experience that you submitted previously for the original classification. If your contracts are only for C10 work, you’ll want to apply for the C10 with the initial license.

Q. If I do include lots of documentation with the application before they ask then could this tick off the reviewer by being overwhelmed with paperwork or does it make me look more serious and more well prepared? (sort of already asked this question above)

A. Better to send everything with the initial submittal. Saves them from having to send you a letter requesting the docs and having to sit on the application until you reply to their letter.

Q. How would you approach this if you were in my shoes?

A. Create a chronological binder with all the documentation I had, submit it with the application, cross my fingers.

Q. Do you think I should just suck it up and do another year working for the C-10 guy (1099) or would you suggest a different route to document experience if you think I should wait to have a better documented history?

A. This all depends on the documentation you have now. If you feel it shows a solid four years (minimum) of experience, I’d say apply now. If you went thru the app process and the cslb said you needed one more year, withdraw your app work another year, then resubmit everything.

Q. Guessing you have seen others in my same predicament so what has made the biggest differences for them being able to get their applications accepted?

A. How well prepared your documentation is.

Q. The C-10 guy I work for has mentioned partnering with me a few times. Would there be some mid-term benefits to going this route and getting on his license then applying for my own later? I am not sure how this works but have heard of others getting brought in that way. The guy is a bit hard to work for / with so this would be a last resort but good to know the answers if it comes to that.

A. This scenario is included in the cslb “options” letter. You could use someone else to be your qualifier. After X amount of years, you could apply to replace that qualifier on the license.

So if you find yourself with a critical classification application under review, let me know and we can discuss your specific circumstances. I offer a very affordable consultation service. Click here if you’d like to discuss what you can do.

Contact your State Representative

If you are having problems with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), you should contact your State Representative.

Contact your State RepresentativeBelow is a letter I received from my Rep back in 2013 in response to a complaint I filed. As you’ll see, they contacted the CSLB on my behalf.

My take-away from this letter is that they just repeated what the CSLB told the Rep’s contact person. And even though this was not the outcome I was hoping for, they still told the CSLB (in essence) that people are filing formal complaints. I should have pressed the issue more with the Rep’s office, but at the time the CSLB app process in place was new and there was no history to bolster my complaint.

It’s clear now that they are profiling applicants based on the classification they are applying for. I have learned in recent months that the CSLB is no longer using the term “critical classifications.” I believe they dropped the term because they know that it equates to an underground regulation.

Some people wonder that if by filing a complaint with your Rep, the CSLB will retaliate by denying your application. It would be illegal for the CSLB to do that, and they tend to fear the Legislature, so I think you should feel comfortable filing such a complaint.

Bottom line, if you’re having trouble dealing with, getting answers from, being harassed by the CSLB, you should contact your State Representative. Click here to find out who your Rep is.

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Report Unlicensed Activity

CSLB Unlicensed Contractor stingThe Contractors State License Board (CSLB) states that unlicensed contracting is part of California’s estimated annual $60 to $140 billion dollar underground economy. These individuals and businesses do not pay taxes, have general liability insurance or license surety bonds. The CSLB also believes that it is not unusual for them to be involved in other illegal activities as well.

What can you do if believe that an individual or business is contracting without a license? And can I report unlicensed activity?

File a complaint using this CSLB Advertising Complaint for Unlicensed Contractors form.

What is illegal contractor activity?

It is illegal for an unlicensed person to perform contracting work on any project valued at $500 or more in combined labor and material costs. Besides being illegal, unlicensed contractors lack accountability and have a high rate of involvement in construction scams. Unlicensed contractors are also creating unfair competition for licensed contractors who operate with bonds, insurance, and other responsible business practices.

What should you do if you know that an individual or business is using someone else’s license number illegally?

File a complaint using this CSLB Advertising Complaint for Unlicensed Contractors form.

What happens if you don’t renew you license on time?

You will be considered unlicensed until your renewal is processed. During this period you may not enter into any new contracts.

How does CSLB process complaints against unlicensed contractors?

When the Board receives a complaint against an unlicensed contractor, it may issue an administrative citation or file a criminal action with the local district attorney’s office. In some cases, it may initiate injunction proceedings against the non-licensee through the Office of the Attorney General or the district attorney.

Citation

The Registrar may issue a citation to an unlicensed contractor when there is probable cause to believe that the person is acting in the capacity of a contractor or engaging in the business of contracting without a license that is in good standing with CSLB. The citation includes an order of abatement to cease and desist and a civil penalty of up to $15,000. Unless the board receives a written appeal within fifteen (15) working days after the citation is served, the citation becomes a final order of the Registrar. The civil penalty is paid to CSLB.

If the citation is appealed, a mandatory settlement conference may be held to resolve the citation. If the matter is not settled, the appeal will be heard before an administrative law judge. The administrative law judge submits a decision to uphold, modify, or dismiss the citation. The decision is sent to the Registrar for adoption. If the cited unlicensed contractor continues to contract without a license, the Registrar may refer the case to the local district attorney for criminal action.

Criminal Action

CSLB may refer investigations to the local prosecutor to file criminal charges. If criminal charges are filed, the unlicensed contractor appears in local court, which renders a final decision on the case. The court may order a fine, probation, restitution, a jail sentence, or all of these.

Injunction

The Registrar may apply for an injunction with the superior court of either the county in which an alleged practice or transaction took place or the county in which the unlicensed person maintains a business or residence. An injunction restrains an unlicensed person from acting in the capacity or engaging in the business of contracting without a license that is in good standing with CSLB.

If you are unlicensed and need help with your application or you need study materials, the License Guru is here to help.

CSLB Gestapo Tactics

The CSLB may be taking notes (knowingly? or unknowingly?) out of Germany’s Gestapo playbook.

CSLB Gestapo TacticsWikipedia says, in part: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gestapo

“The basic Gestapo law passed by the government in 1936 gave the Gestapo carte blanche to operate without judicial review—in effect, putting it above the law.[13] The Gestapo was specifically exempted from responsibility to administrative courts, where citizens normally could sue the state to conform to laws.”

Here we are in 2015, and the CSLB has been acting in the same manner for years.

They create their own rules, laws, and regulations, none of which are subjected to judicial review. In effect, putting it above the law.

In a previous post I pointed out that the CSLB Spring Newsletter stated requirements that are not written in the law. Specifically, business name advertising.

In another post I discussed where the CSLB has been requiring out-of-state applicants to have their certifier’s signature notarized. Not written in the law.

Then of course there is the infamous “critical classifications” list. A list of specific classifications that are targeted and/or profiled and are subjected to additional review. The CSLB managers have told their staff that they can no longer use the term “critical classification.” Hmmm, I wonder why?

They continue to pursue this profiling by using the law that requires them to pull a minimum of 3% of ALL applications received for secondary review.

Pulling ALL “critical classification” applications is not a random sampling of ALL applications received. This is a prime example of the CSLB twisting the law as written in order to fit their needs.

The difference between the Gestapo and the CSLB is that there is no law that specifically gives the CSLB carte blanche. It’s worse than that…. they chose to enact these unlawful requirements on their own. No authorization by the legislature, nothing put to a public vote, No, they just make these rules as they go. Clearly, a State office that is out of control and in desperate need of being reigned in.

How long will the CSLB continue operating like the Gestapo of the 30’s and 40’s? Sadly, there is no crystal ball to provide that answer. All we can do is hope that someday the CSLB will stop using Gestapo tactics and will operate with transparency and within the law.