No Bond, No Recovery: WA Contractors Must Comply With WA Statutory Requirements Or Risk Being Barred From Recovery If Their Client Refuses To Pay

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A recent case provides a grim reminder that the same statutes that giveth court access can also taketh away.

September 18, 2018
Joshua Lane - Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC

The risk that a contractor’s client may refuse to pay the full contract balance is a day-to-day reality for every contractor. That risk – and the stress it causes in the mind of any contractor – is tempered by the knowledge that Washington statutes provide contractors with ready access to the courts to file a lawsuit and be fully compensated for the work performed. But a recent case provides a grim reminder that the same statutes that giveth court access can also taketh away.

Washington’s Contractor Registration Act (“WCRA”)[1] requires every contractor engaging or offering to engage in services in Washington to register with the Department of Labor and Industries (”L&I”). In order to sue to collect compensation for work or to enforce a contract, a contractor must prove that he/she “was a duly registered contractor and held a current and valid certificate of registration at the time he or she contracted for the performance of such work or entered into such contract.”[2] In order to conclude that a contractor has substantially comply with these requirements, a court must find that:

(1) The department has on file the information required by RCW 18.27.030; (2) the contractor has at all times had in force a current bond or other security as required by RCW 18.27.040; and (3) the contractor has at all times had in force current insurance as required by RCW 18.27.050.[3]

Mr. Lane may be contacted at joshua.lane@acslawyers.com



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