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How to Verify a Professional's License in Vancouver?

Several boards are responsible for the licensing of professionals in the City of Vancouver. These include the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, the Washington Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors, the Washington State Department of Licensing, and the Washington State Department of Health. These licensing organizations collectively issue over 450 different types of licenses and all professionals in the City of Vancouver are required to be licensed. Ensuring that you only hire a licensed professional for their services is of the utmost importance. While there are no legal implications for hiring an unlicensed professional, doing so can lead to loss of funds, property damage, and abandoned work. You can verify a Vancouver professionals' license via the License Lookup online form on the Washington State Department of Licensing's website.

Next to ensuring that your hired professional has a valid license is the need to ensure that the required permits for the proposed work are obtained. Generally, a permit is required for changes and alterations to residential buildings or for new construction work. You also require a permit for plumbing installations, mechanical fittings, electrical work, and turning utilities back on after a fire. In Vancouver, the City's Community and Economic Development Department (CED) is responsible for providing building permits. To apply for a permit, you will typically be required to download an application form. You can send the completed application for a permit to the CED's Permit Center by email, or you can take advantage of in-person services on Mondays and Wednesdays by visiting the CED's Permit Center at:

  • City Hall
  • 415 West Sixth Street
  • Vancouver, WA 98660
  • Phone: (360) 487-7800
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Do Vancouver Neighborhood Councils
Issue Permits?

The City of Vancouver has 68 officially recognized neighborhood associations. These are independent associations that bring neighbors together to address issues, share beneficial information, and carry out projects for the neighborhood. The Office of Neighborhoods in Vancouver supports and promotes cooperation with the city's residents through these officially recognized neighborhood associations. However, even though neighborhood associations are instrumental in affecting the lives of the residents, and are a platform to engage with the government, they are not authorized to issue permits.

It was reported in December 2020 that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Vancouver was experiencing a major housing market trend with an increase in prices, and a predicted increase in new building permits of up to 65%. As of April 2021, the Building Industry Association of Clark County had confirmed these predicted trends with a reported increase in residential and commercial permits in the City of Vancouver. Most of these permits were for new construction projects, which were assured to help the recovery of the city from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to File an Unfair Business
Complaint in Vancouver?

Consumers with complaints about businesses or professionals located in Vancouver can file their complaints with the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General's Vancouver Office. The Consumer Protection Division helps to keep the city free of deceptive and unfair business practices by investigating complaints, recovering funds, and seeking penalties for erring entities. You can file a complaint by using the provided online form or by mail. To file by mail, download the General Consumer Complaint form, fill it out, and send it to:

  • 1220 Main Street
  • Suite 510
  • Vancouver, WA 98660

You can reach the Consumer Protection Office for questions or clarification on the complaint submission process via (360) 759-2100.

The Consumer Protection Division offers an informal resolution service for complaints that it receives that involves contacting the business in question to determine their response to the consumer. However, businesses that choose not to reach a peaceful resolution cannot be compelled to do so, and the complainants will only be advised of the alternatives available to them. One of these available alternatives is embracing the legal system through the small claims division of the Clark County District Court located in Vancouver. The small claims division offers a relaxed legal process that allows individuals to seek legal remedy in court through self-representation. Note that the amount involved in a dispute filed before a small claims court in Vancouver cannot exceed $10,000. You can file a case at the Clark County District Court at:

  • 1200 Franklin Street
  • Vancouver, WA 98660
  • Phone: (564) 397-2424