MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — The Home Builders Licensure Board is warning victims in northern Jefferson County who experienced tornado damage to their homes to watch out for dishonest or unqualified contractors.
The board maintains an official list of licensed residential homebuilders for the state and urges victims to check the list before doing business with a home builder or remodeler.
The state homebuilders and remodelers license is required when the cost of the job is more than $10,000, the Home Builders Licensure Board reports. However, consumers are encouraged to seek out licensees of the Board even if the scope of the work is less than $10,000.
Executive Director, J.R. “Chip” Carden, cautions homeowners, who experience damage from the tornado that traveled through northeastern Jefferson County on Jan. 25, 2021, and emphasizes the importance of the consumer knowing about the potential problems of contracting for home building and remodeling with unlicensed contractors.
“Do your homework,” Carden advises. “Call any references the builder gives you and check with the Board to confirm if a builder is licensed and in good standing. Don’t be in a rush. A bad decision now can make a difficult situation even worse.”
The Board outlined steps consumers should take when working with a builder:
- Ask if they are licensed. Ask to see the card! The HBLB license is credit card-sized license – a sample is listed on HBLB’s website. You may check on a builder’s license status by calling 1-800-304-0853, or by visiting www.hblb.alabama.gov.
- Ask for and check references, especially if the builder makes unsolicited contact with you or is from out-of-town.
- Make sure quotes and contracts are in writing. Under state law, licensed homebuilders must use a written contract. Make sure it includes the contractor’s full name, address, telephone number, a description of the work to be performed, starting and estimated completion dates, and the total cost of the job.
- NEVER make a full payment or substantial down payment up front. Do not make a final payment until you are satisfied, and all subcontractors have been paid. If they tell you that more money is needed in advance, be wary.
- Ask for proof of insurance, including workers compensation and general liability.
For information contact the Home Builders Licensure Board, 445 Herron Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104, (334) 242-2230 or 1-800-304-0853 or www.hblb.alabama.gov.
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