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In the case of an oral contract, who has the responsibility to prove having license

Livermore, CA |

I had an oral contract to build my house.
I paid this person assuming that he was in charge and that he would build the house.

He is saying that his corporation built it not him.

The contractor can say that the contract was with the proper business entity, while the home owner can say I contracted with the inappropriate business entity.

Bottom line is that his paper work is ambiguous and my understanding is that my checks to him, the names he used on his invoices and payments to his vendors indicated that his corporation only got the permit.
My fundamental question is: Didn't the contractor have the responsibility to keep his paperwork up to standards or is that just a minor issue? I have seen instances that using the wrong name for instance is held against them.

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Attorney answers 4


If you believe that the construction work was performed by an unlicensed person, then you should file a complaint with the State Contractors License Board, which I have linked below. Let them investigate. It is the contractor who must be licensed, though it is always a good idea before you hire any person for construction work to check references and licensing to limit your risks of having work that is below workmanship standards.

Robert Stempler (please see DISCLAIMER below)
Twitter: @RStempler

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The contractor was required to be licensed and have a written contract. If the contractor is a corporation, it needs to have a Responsible Managing Officer who is also eligible to hold the license the corporation holds. If the person who built your house is not licensed, he is not entitled to be paid and you are entitled to all your money back, regardless of the quality of the construction.

You need an attorney to review the paperwork you have and the licensing issues to determine the best course of action.

We have handled several cases like this in my office and would be happy to help you.


Someone would need to review all the relevant documents and facts to be sure.
A contractor is required to use the same name under which his license is issued. Failure to do so could result in a determination of unlicensed contracting.
This may be important, or it may not, depending on the circumstances. If you are having a dispute with the contractor, it may be a chip in your favor. You need to consult with a local construction lawyer.


The contractor has to have a contractor’s license. He also needs to have a written contract which also provides at what points and time he gets paid and what sums of money. This entire situation looks, tastes and smells like a scam. Check with your State Contractor’s Licensing Board and see if the individual or his corporate name has a license and see if it is active. Don’t give him any more money until you have validated these matters and have obtained the written contract which has been reviewed by a real estate attorney

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