7031 Ruling Raises Stakes for Contractors

The Legislature creates the rules that comprise the laws contractors must follow to do business in California. However, that’s the easy part. When it comes to actual use – Board policy, staff interpretation and legal decisions can change or modify how that law applies. Such is the case with a serious new turn of events for every contractor in the state relating to the ‘monster’ which is sometimes known as B&P 7031…

After a series of legal decisions during the past few years, I didn’t think the courts could make it any more difficult for contractors. I was wrong! It now appears that a recent case decided by the Court of Appeal, will likely make it necessary for most contractors that are involved in litigation to produce a Verified Certificate from the CSLB proving they were duly licensed at all times during the performance of the contract.

For the most part, if you are a contractor suing for work YOU performed, and the opposing party claims that you were improperly licensed, the only way you can prove proper licensure is to produce a Verified Certificate. If you are unable to produce this document in time, you’ll likely lose the case – even if you had the proper license and were in good standing throughout the contract. The opposing attorney may even know this but can still challenge and force you to produce said document.

It is no wonder that my office has been receiving double the requests for assistance during the past 6 months in obtaining these Certificates. The CSLB is obligated to complete these documents and this case will certainly add to their burden in producing these Certificates in a timely manner. To date, the Board has done an excellent job at keeping on top of these requests, but I fear this case may cause a paperwork landslide putting legitimate contractors – with legitimate claims – in a real bind. Either way, it’s not likely to speed things up for individual contractors.

Q: Can someone who is a licensed sole owner also be a RMO of another company that they hold stock in? Thank you for the help.

A: Yes, it is common for someone with a sole owner license to also be the RMO on a corporate license. However, in order to be the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) and keep your existing license active, you will need to own at least 20% of the stock.

Q: Would a contractor need a “C-6” license to do cabinets if he holds a “B”? A friend (who is a contractor) told me that I couldn’t install cabinets with my general license. Is he right?

A: NO, general builders can properly self-perform “C-6” finish (or “C-5”, rough) carpentry. In all other cases, a “B” would need to handle 2 or more unrelated trades. Framing and Cabinet/Millwork are the exceptions. The ‘B’ also has the option of taking a project for specialty work (plumbing, electrical, concrete, etc.) and subcontracting to a properly licensed specialty contractor.