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Nov. 14, 2007

Repairing storm damage? Protect yourself from unqualified contractors

TUMWATER — In the wake of Monday’s windstorm that downed trees and left some homes damaged, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is alerting homeowners not to take shortcuts when hiring a contractor to make repairs.

Doing homework upfront can protect homeowners against contractors who take the money and run, or do a poor job and won’t come back to fix the problem.

At www.Contractors.Lni.wa.gov, homeowners can find out whether a contractor is registered with L&I and whether that contractor has any current claims against his or her bond.

Contractors are required to:

  • Register with the state.
  • Carry a minimum of $250,000 of liability insurance.
  • Obtain a $6,000-$12,000 bond, depending on the type of contractor. A customer or supplier can make a claim against a contractor’s bond when the contractor didn’t finish a promised job, did the job improperly, or didn’t fully pay for supplies or labor.
  • Provide you with a “Notice to Customer” disclosure statement if your project is over $1,000.

At www.Contractors.Lni.wa.gov, there’s also a checklist to follow when hiring a contractor to make repairs.

L&I also reminded homeowners that tree-removal services are now required to be registered as contractors with the state.

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For media information: Steve Pierce, L&I Public Affairs, 360-902-5412.

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