CALIFORNIA—September 15, 2020—Unprecedented wildfires have devastated much of the West, and California has declared a state-wide state of emergency. As restoration contractors mobilize across the state to help residents recover from the disaster, it is important to note that there are some special rules for contractors operating under a California state of emergency. To help contractors avoid these pitfalls, restoration lawyer Ed Cross has provided some explanations, forms, and helpful resources in the video below.

Pitfall 1: Contracts

Cross explains: “No one in the state of California can present, solicit, negotiate, or execute a contract for residential work unless that person is either the actual holder of a Contractor’s License, or has a Home Improvement Salesperson’s (HIS) License AND is employed by a licensed contractor.” The contractor must submit a form to the licensing board as written notice that the HIS-holder is employed by the contractor. Signing a contract when you are not a licensed contractor or HIS employed by one is a serious violation that the State of California does enforce.

Pitfall 2: Right of rescission

Typically, homeowners have a three-day right to cancel any contract for work to be performed on their property; however, in a state of emergency, contractors must give notice of a seven-day right of rescission for contracts pertaining to any work related to the disaster. The notice to homeowners must be taken directly from the California Civil Code, so be sure to use the form provided by Cross rather than writing or summarizing your own notice. Cross adds, “The notice of the right to cancel also must be accompanied by two exact copies of a notice of cancellation. This is the document the customers use in the event that they elect to cancel the contract.”

In the event of an emergency where the work must commence immediately, customers may waive their right of rescission, but this situation must meet specific criteria and correct documentation is needed. For more details, see the video below.

Free resources

Ed Cross is providing the HIS employment notice form and the seven-day right of rescission form for the State of California, as well as a packet of other resources for free to assist restoration contractors at this time. E-mail him at [email protected] with the word “NOTICE” in the subject line and your contact information in the body of the e-mail to receive these free forms and materials. For more information, visit TheRestorationLawyer.com.

Note: These are general materials and guidelines and are not a substitute for legal advice specific to individual situations.