Every person acting in the capacity of a contractor in the State of California must be properly licensed at all times during the performance of work. The licensing requirements applicable to contractors performing work in the State are governed by the Contractors State License Law. The Contractors License Law is administered by the Contractors State License Board, which is part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The purpose of the license law is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of property owners and to protect the public from unscrupulous, incompetent, dishonest, and unqualified contractors and subcontractors.
Penalties for Performing Work Without A Contractor’s License
A contractor who violates the Contractors License Law is subject to civil and criminal penalties including: (a) jail time, a fine, or both, (b) may have its license suspended or revoked, (c) may be precluded from bidding on or undertaking work, (d) may have to disgorge monies paid for unlicensed work, (e) may be denied recovery on payment bonds, (f) may be liable for the unpaid wages of an unlicensed contractor’s or subcontractor’s employees, (g) is precluded from recovering compensation or enforcing lien rights, and (h) cannot bring or maintain any action, or recover in law or equity, in any court in the State of California for services requiring a license.
The Mechanics Lien Law is designed to provide a means of recovery for those making site improvements or providing materials at the request of the owner of land or the owner’s agent. The California Constitution establishes that mechanics, persons furnishing material, artisans, and laborers of every class have a lien on the property on which they have provided labor or furnished material for the value of the labor done and the material furnished, and requires that the legislature provide for the speedy and efficient enforcement of these liens.
Notice of Nonresponsibility
When a lessee constructs a work of improvement on the property subject to the lease, the owner of the fee title interest may record and post a notice of nonresponsibility to protect his or her interest in the property from the mechanics lien.