HIC Contracts, Inactive Licenses & SOS Suspensions

Winning or losing in a court case often depends on getting the best information before going to trial. While most of our questions come from contractors, we also often work with attorneys; researching license law, CSLB practices or providing expert testimony. We start with a lawyer’s question and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth…

Q:  I hope this email finds you well.  It has been some time since we talked/emailed!  I understand you are helping my brother with his General engineering license; that is great!

I’m still in my family’s contracting business, but I’m also practicing law.  My goal is to work with small residential contractors who have the potential to be eaten up by the state’s strict construction regulations.

I did run across an issue and I thought Capitol Services would be the best resource to ask.   Regulation 16 CCR §872.1, purports to require that a contractor provide the applicable checklist to a prospective homeowner client.  This regulation relies upon the authority found in Business and Profession Code § 7159.3; however, section 7159.3 was repealed in 2005.

Do you know if this checklist is still required or is this something the Board needs to clean up in its regulations?

A:  Good to hear from you again.  Yes, I am doing well, thank you.

Board Rule 872.1 (Checklist For Homeowners) still references section 7159.3, which, as you stated, was repealed.  I discussed your question with a former CSLB Legislative liaison.  To the best of his recollection, the Board did consider eliminating this regulation; however, it was discovered there was another code section, which referenced 872.1 so it was retained.

The State Legislature has made a number of revisions to home improvement contract requirements in B&P Code Section 7159; the most recent of which was last year.  If you reference sections 7159 to 7159.14 you’ll find the current specifications for home improvement contracts, which include NOTICE requirements involving Commercial General Liability Insurance (which is what 7159.3 addressed), Worker’s Compensation coverage, “Mechanics Lien Warning”, Three-Day Right To Cancel, etc.


I am sending you a CSLB publication entitled “Contracting For Success: A Contractor’s Guide to Home Improvement Contracts” which may be useful.  While this CSLB publication is written for contractors, it’s a very handy resource for anyone who deals with home improvement contracts.  For any of our readers interested in a copy of this publication, please contact Capitol Services or try any CSLB office.

Q: What will it take to get my license number activated? I’m living outside the country now and was just wondering.  It’s a fairly low number issued in the mid 80’s and I would like to use it when I come back to CA.

A:  According to my research this is a corporation license.  The CSLB will not allow you to reapply until it’s brought back into good standing with the Secretary of State (SOS).   SOS records show your company was “suspended” a dozen years ago and since the license has been expired since 1997, you may be looking at upwards of $25,000 to pay all back taxes, interest and penalties.  You have to ask yourself, how badly do I want to get this license back?

While this “fairly low number” may be gone, an alternative would be to apply for an individual license in your name.  You were the Qualifier on another license as recently as 2008 so this would be one way to avoid having to retake the license exams down the road.