Beware of fly-by-night contractors

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By Carol A. Clark

Just as the dregs of society did following the Cerro Grande Fire, fly-by-night contractors are descending upon Los Alamos to cash in on all the hail damage repair work created by the massive July 6 hailstorm.

“Anyone who wants to do business in this town must have a business license issued by Los Alamos County,” said Los Alamos County’s Building Official Chris Williams. “While it is legal for a person to go door-to-door to offer their services, they must have a business license and when they come to us to get it, we’re going to make sure they have a valid contractor’s license.”

It’s perfectly appropriate for homeowners to ask to see the business licenses of people knocking on their doors to offer services, he said.

Along with Los Alamos County business licenses, workers also must have valid contractor’s licenses, which they obtain from the state.

The danger to homeowners who hire an unlicensed or uninsured contractor is that the homeowner assumes responsibility for that person, Williams said. If that person is injured on the job, the homeowner can be sued and ordered to pay that person’s medical expenses, workman’s compensation and even lost wages for however long the person is unable to return to work.