San Diego, CA asked in Real Estate Law for California

Q: Are we in the wrong if our disclosed license contractor is not licensed in our house sale?

We had some remodelling done by a contractor introduced by our agent who said he is licensed. We got his license number, check against CA licensing site, and it’s valid. After the sale of the house, there was an issue. We gave the contractor contact to the buyer and seemed like the contractor told the buyer he’s not licensed.

It is now in dispute and the buyer wants us to pay for the damage and fix. We would like to know if we are in the wrong if it turns out the contractor is not licensed and we need to pay for the damage.

Just additional info: we did provide them time to do an inspection but the buyer chose not to do it. We did not know there was a leak either because we moved out of town prior to completion of work.

UPDATE: Thanks for the answer on contractor license. I suppose we need to follow up with our contractor regarding that, but what about from the buyer themselves regarding the house sale? Are we liable for this issue?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nathan Wirtschafter
Nathan Wirtschafter
  • Encino, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California providing contracting services without a license is a misdemeanor. See Bus. & Prof. Code § 7028(a). Plaintiff is entitled to a full refund of “all compensation” paid. See id. at § 7031(b). To “protect the public from incompetence and dishonesty” by contractors, the California Supreme Court is harsh with unlicensed contractors. See Hydrotech Systems Ltd. v. Oasis Waterpark (1991) 52 Cal.3d 988, 995 (“Section 7031 applies despite injustice to the unlicensed contractor.”); MW Erectors, Inc. v. Niederhauser (2005) 36 Cal.4th 412, 418 (statute “imposes strict and harsh penalties for a contractor’s failure to maintain proper licensure.”).

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