Fire victims should check licenses, references before hiring contractors |

Fire victims should check licenses, references before hiring contractors

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Schyler Beaty of South Lake Tahoe retrieves jewelry Tuesday from the burnt ruins of his grandmother's home on Snow Mountain Drive in Meyers. Rick Roach The Reporter, Vacaville, Calif.

After the fire, when victims prepare to rebuild, they also need to be on the alert for unscrupulous contractors or people posing as contractors.

Officer Desi Timmerman of the South Lake Tahoe office of the California Highway Patrol said homeowners planning to rebuild should check out anyone approaching them purporting to be a contractor.

“Running their licenses through the California Contractors Board, insisting on referrals and actually checking with the referrals,” are some of the steps homeowners must do, said Timmerman. “There are some very bad contractors out there.”

She said fire victims should not be satisfied looking at photographs of a contractor’s work, but should ask if they can go see the actual work.

Timmerman said red flags should go up in a fire victim’s mind if a purported contractor doesn’t want to sign a contract.

“Even for the smallest of jobs, there should be paperwork spelling out exactly what the consumer wants,” she said. “Have everything in writing and take photographs.

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She said anyone can be the victim of an unscrupulous contractor.

“I think everyone is just as vulnerable, and it’s incumbent on them to be certain the people they are dealing with are reputable,” she said.