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Question DetailsAsked on 5/17/2012

If a contractor breaks a licensing law, how is my contract affected?

My contractor had 3 people perform electrical wiring work. I found out he used the LLE license of a person I've never seen on my property to get the permit. How does this affect my contract with him? Not all the work was electrical.

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2 Answers

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It depends on your state and which legal entity you are talking to. Many states will separate the contract from the licensing status in a court of law unless the contract specifically stated the work was being performed by a licensed electrician. The civil court may say you had a contract which he never guaranteed licensed work. The licensing department, on the other hand, will have a different take on the issue. In Texas, electricians must have a Master's license as well as an electrical contractor's license to submit bids and contract work independently. Call the licensing bureau for your state and ask them. In the mean time, you need to halt the work being done and insist that the licensed electrician on record inspect the work thuus far and supervise the completion of that work. There's a chance he may not even know they are using his name and license number. I've seen that before. You always need to check licensing status of contractors before you hire them. I've had journeymen and apprentices even try to tell me their number was issued as a master license. They just changed the prefix.

If the Master electrician is inspecting and supervising the work you should be fine. But you need to meet with him in person to make sure his paperwork is in order and you have a copy of everything for your records (license and insurance). Also, don't pay your contractor until the Master gives you some sort of written statement that everything is done properly and to code.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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Additional to Todd's comments:

1) Never make final payment (meaning at least 20% or more retention) until the building department inspection is done AND all deficiencies have been fixed and reinspected and passed.

2) In the more consumer friendly states, a contract is deemed voidable or subject to severe payment restrictions (including sometimes not allowing ANY payment) if the contractor is not properly licensed. So, you need to talk to your state licensing department, and at least follow the other advice given above - if not talk to a contracts attorney. I would also check the sstatus of ALL the licenses - general contractor and subcontractors.

BTW - Todd emphasizes the Master electrician issue a lot because that is a big thing in Texas, as well as in many northeast states. In some states, residential does not require a master electrician at all, only a journeyman - only requires Master for hotels and highrise buildings, schools, hospitals, and high-voltage work generally.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD




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