Legal Question in Construction Law in California

I was asked by a neighbor to paint their because they saw me painting my house. i told them that was not a licensed painter. They said that it didn't matter to them, they knew me and liked my work. So, i painted their house. I have never advertised, asked for referrals or say I a painter or handyman. In 21/2 years I have painted 4 houses under the conditions as I outline above. Their is a retired attonery that lives in our neighborhood that has been harassing me about not being license and texting me the state laws that pertain to unlicensed contractors and the outcome of breaking the law. This retired attorney has never asked me one question about what i have been doing. What should I do? And if this retired attorney had spoken to me instead of several texts he would of know I was going to be painting anymore houses. I live in a 55+ community and the houses that I have painted have been for single older women (77+) and feel safe with me coming unto their property. Plus my wife comes to help me, but mostly ends up taking to these ladies. Thank you, Craig


Asked on 9/20/21, 6:11 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

It is not illegal for you to paint other people's houses. It is only illegal for you to collect more than $500 per job to do it. You can stay under the cap by having them buy the supplies and you only charging for the labor. If you have taken more than $500 for any given job, the attorney is correct that you have violated a number of laws. It is highly unlikely that the DA or the Contractors State License Board would be interested in pursuing you for the violations, but if you wanted to be extra safe, you should refund any payments in full if they were over $500 (the law does not permit an unlicensed contractor who charges more than $500 to keep any of the money, not even for supplies you bought).

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Answered on 9/22/21, 8:14 am


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