What Happens If You Hire An Unlicensed Contractor

October 4, 2013

Florida homeowners have had more than their fair share of problems that stemmed from hiring unlicensed contractors.  During a stormy time, tropical storm, or hurricane, many unlicensed contractors will take to the streets to hustle unauthorized work from unsuspecting homeowners.   Since it rains a lot in Florida, this happens quite often, and the result is problematic for municipalities and homeowners alike.

Did You Know It’s Illegal to Hire an Unlicensed Contractor in the State of Florida?

The penalty for hiring an unlicensed contractor in Florida, which is an offense that includes a wide range of conduct about the home improvement and construction industries, is outlined in Florida Statutes Section 489.127.

Furthermore, work done by an unlicensed contractor can be stopped immediately and ordered to be redone.

So how can you help avoid hiring an unlicensed roofing contractor?

  1. Verify that your contractor is Florida state-licensed at: www.myfloridalicense.com.
  2. Even if everything looks official, speak to the contractor’s office and make sure that they have a record of your job.
  3. Never sign a blank or incomplete contract, no matter what the salesperson tells you.
  4. Ensure the name on the contract you sign matches exactly with the contractor’s name on your permit application.
  5. Never sign a blank permit application.
  6. Get references from other homeowners who have used the contractor and check the Better Business Bureau.

Remember that while it may be tempting to hire an unlicensed contractor because they may be able to come out to your property more quickly or do the job at a lower cost. Still, you are ultimately responsible for the people on your roof.  If they do not have insurance, it all falls on you if someone – a worker, for example – gets hurt.  Further, the city may not finalize your permit and possibly even red tag your property which may mean an expensive fix. The work performed may be substandard anyway. Finally, the material manufacturer may not honor the warranty on your roof if they find out an unlicensed contractor performed it.

Remember, contractors go through the licensing process for an excellent reason. Their competence and ability are tested thoroughly for your protection.

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