88°F
weather icon Clear

Spring showers bring May flowers, and home repair scammers

As the weather warms, many homeowners will be pulling out their “spring cleaning” checklists and identifying things around their home that need to be repaired or remodeled.

Unfortunately, there are also a lot of unscrupulous and unlicensed contractors eager to take on these projects who are willing to do anything they can to get the job.

Although most homeowners are looking for the best deal, it’s important to be cautious in your decision-making.

Hiring unlicensed contractors for home repair or remodel projects places added risks and liabilities on the homeowner.

Many of these individuals do not carry workers’ compensation insurance, have not demonstrated their proficiency in the trade you’ve hired them for or have not gone through a criminal background check. And your options for recourse are often limited to civil litigation if something goes wrong during the course of your project.

You should also know that a license is always required for electrical, plumbing, HVAC and refrigeration services — regardless of the size and scope of the project. Failure to abide by industry standards could put you and your family’s health and safety in jeopardy.

The best way to protect yourself is to ask for the contractor’s license number. This is different than a business license. A contractor’s license is generally five digits long (0098765) and can be verified on the Nevada State Contractors Board’s mobile application or website to ensure they are in an “active” standing.

The license search will show you real-time information, including disciplinary actions taken against the licensee, bond information and their license classification, which indicates the type of work they can perform.

Spotting the warning signs

We’ve all met those smooth talkers who have the smile and charisma to convince us to do just about anything. But protecting your family requires a little more skepticism before letting someone into your home. Here are some key indicators you may be dealing with an unscrupulous or unlicensed contractor:

■ Aggressive (even if polite) sales pitch: This happens when the person you are speaking with won’t take no for an answer or keeps trying to persuade you to give them the job on the spot.

■ Significant discounts: Truly good deals can be hard to come by, so be cautious if someone offers you significant discounts for cash-only payments or “today-only” specials.

■ No contract: You should never have work performed on your home without a contract. It’s important to document every detail you expect to be performed and have you and the contractor sign it. Also, contracts must contain the contractor’s license number and monetary limit, another way to verify you’re dealing with a legitimate contractor.

■ Personal checks: The Contractors Board licenses construction entities — not individuals. If someone is asking you to pay them, personally, they are usually unlicensed or could be engaging in fraudulent activities. Always make checks payable to the company directly and never pay with cash.

Hiring licensed Nevada contractors affords you greater options for recourse if you incur damages or are unsatisfied with the work performed on your home.

A complaint can be filed with the Contractors Board up to four years from the date the work was performed. The board will investigate your concerns as they relate to your contractual agreement and may order your contractor to remedy any issues that are validated.

Owners of single-family residences may also be eligible to file a claim with the Board’s Residential Recovery Fund, which can afford up to $35,000 in financial recourse to harmed homeowners.

Each of these recourse options are free to the consumer. The board’s website offers resources, brochures, informational videos, etc. to help guide you in your dealings with licensed contractors. We welcome the opportunity to serve you whether hiring a contractor, filing a complaint or answering your construction-related questions. Please call 702-486-1100 or visit nscb.nv.gov.

Margi A. Grein is the executive officer of the Nevada State Contractors Board.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
New Nevada laws that will affect HOAs

There were not too many laws passed in this last legislative session that affected our local homeowners associations. Here are some that did.

BHHS partners with Adwerx to offer Realtors new program

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, in partnership with Adwerx Enterprises, has launched a new platform, called Brilliantly Simple to immediately advertise its real estate listings online. The platform automatically creates digital advertising programs for each home, including custom ads that are optimized for social media, apps and websites.

Homeowners have right to see HOA financial records

Per Nevada Revised Statute 116.31175 (1a), upon written request, you are entitled to receive financial statements from your association. Please send a formal specific request of what financial statements that you would like to receive.

High land costs affect developments

For all the job growth and expansion in the Las Vegas economy, a lack of land and its high cost is restricting growth in the valley, experts told the Southern Nevada real estate and development community.

Local home prices stuck at $300,000

For the third straight month, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, GLVAR, reported that local home prices are hovering at $300,000, while the number of homes on the market continues to increase.

Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for disabled

The Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for the disabled. Based upon your email, the homeowner would have a strong claim against the association if the homeowner was forced to remove the motor home, or if the association were to fine the homeowner because of the therapy equipment. Take the time to meet with this homeowner and see if there are any other viable alternatives.

HOA must deal with bully board member

The only way to keep bully board members in check is for the entire board to deal with the issue in executive session. Depending upon the gravity of the situation, legal counsel should be informed and invited to attend the executive session.

Federal law allows for service animals in HOA

The Fair Housing Act amendments of 1988 extended the protections of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Associations must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability.

Condo owner complains of being harassed by renter

You have to contact the police department at the time of the incidents. When meeting with the police officer let the officer know that you want to file a formal complaint and that you would like some report from him or her. Filing a complaint will most likely require you to go to one of the police stations. Find out which one from the police officer.