The Contractors State License Board has a few tips on how to avoid unlicensed violators known to prey on vulnerable and unsuspecting homeowners who are involved in new home or home improvement projects. Hire only licensed contractors Check licenses at www.cslb.ca.gov. Get three references and review past work. Get a written contract. Don't pay cash. Don't let payment get ahead of work. Be aware there is no such thing as a handyman license.
The law: Any job estimated at more than $500 must be performed by someone with a state license. Contractors must place their license number in print, broadcast and online advertisements. Those without a license can advertise to perform jobs valued at less than $500, but the ad must state that they are not licensed. A down payment cannot exceed 10 percent of the contract total or $1,000, whichever is less. State authorities can halt job site activity when any person with or without a contractor license does not have workers' compensation insurance coverage for employees.
To view a list of the CSLB's Most Wanted visit: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/generalinformation/newsroom/mostwanted/