We’ve talked before about Business and Professions Code section 7031 which courts have referred to as “harsh[ ],” “unjust[ ]” and even “draconian.” Under Section 7031, a contractor performing work requiring a contractor’s license, but who doesn’t: (1) is prohibited from suing to recover payment for work performed; and (2) is required to disgorge all money paid by the project owner for work performed. This is true even if the project owner knew that the contractor was unlicensed, the contractor was only unlicensed during part of the time it performed work requiring a license, and even if the work performed by the contractor was free of defects. In short, it’s the nuclear bomb of remedies against a contractor.
However, until now, no court has addressed when a project owner is permitted to raise a Business and Professions Code section 7031 claim against a contractor. In the next case, Eisenberg Village of the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging v. Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., Case No B297247 (August 26, 2020), the 2nd District Court Appeal finally answers this question.