L&I: Be smart when paying to repair winter property damage

Washington state officials are advising property owners to do their homework when it comes to hiring contractors to repair damage from winter weather.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries issued these tips to help property owners avoid dealing with bad contractors and shoddy repair work:

– Check whether a contractor is registered by visiting protectmyhome.net. Users can verify whether contractors are licensed, how long they have been in business and see the amount of their insurance coverage and bond.

– Beware of red flags, including contractors who ask to be paid in cash, have a check made out to someone other than the business, or work only evenings or on weekends. Unregistered contractors or scam artists typically use these tactics.

– Don’t pay in full until the job is done.

Officials advise property owners to take time in choosing a well-qualified, registered contractor. State law requires that contractors be registered to remove downed trees, replace gutters, fix fences or perform any other repair work on your property, according to L&I.

Hiring registered contractors also gives consumers some recourse if anything goes wrong with the repairs. Homeowners, for instance, can seek money from a contractor’s bond if a job is unfinished or poorly done.


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