Hiring a Contractor

Whoever you hire, make sure that you check them out at: www.lni.wa.gov

There is a lot of good information there about hiring contractors. Roofing and siding contractors have additional legal requirements, and that is because homeowners have had notoriously bad luck with fly-by-night outfits in those particular trades. They MUST enter into a written contract with you, whereas other trades can legally go forward on a verbal contract.

If you run the name in the L&I database, you will learn: (a) if their license is current; (b) if they have had any lawsuits filed against them — but be fair. Folks get sued all the time, and win at trial. So look for actual judgments, or payments by their bonding company, before deciding that you should or shouldn’t hire them.

The contractor should give you a document BEFORE they start, entitled: “Notice to Owner.” It is required under RCW 18.27. That document will advise you concerning liens, and what you can do to protect yourself against a lien filing on your property. If they don’t give you one, this is not necessarily an indication that they don’t do good work. It just means that maybe they don’t have a great lawyer (which may mean they haven’t had legal problems!). They can’t file a lien against your property if they don’t give you this notice, though (if the bid or contract is for more than $1,000). So…it isn’t necessarily a document you want to ASK for! [If you are a contractor reading this, and don’t know about this statute…it is relatively new, and it is separate from the notice requirements under RCW 60.04. You can email me or call me for a copy of the two separate notices and compare how they are very different].

However, if their license is not current, do not hire. They probably will not have a bond, that covers breach of contract. They may not have insurance, which covers accidents and negligence.

This summary is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney in regard to your particular situation.