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May 2011 Archives

Avoiding The Problems of Hiring an Unlicensed Construction Contractor in Washington

After 30 years working for the same company in Seattle, Washington, Joe and Jane Smith just retired and happily decided to move back to their childhood hometown, Vancouver, in Southwest Washington. Instead of selling their Seattle home, they decided to have some repairs and remodeling done and rent the home in order to earn some extra money during their lean retirement years. Joe and Jane thought they knew a qualified contractor in Washington to perform the work on their home. They had recently seen a construction contractor's truck parked across the street a few months ago, and had seen the contractor repair their neighbor's home. The contractor must be qualified, Joe and Jane thought, since the truck advertised in big letters that the contractor was "Licensed * Bonded * Insured." They hadn't heard any complaints from their neighbors, although, admittedly, the neighbors were also renters who weren't around much. Everything sounded good enough, right?

Wrong! What Joe and Jane didn't know is that the contactor, even with his truck advertising that he was licensed, bonded, and insured, was actually none of those things. In fact, even though construction contractors are required by Washington law to be registered (licensed), bonded, and insured (see RCW 18.27, et. seq.), Joe and Jane's contractor had previously made the decision to make his money "under the table" and to not register with any Washington state agency.

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