Scams in the construction industry, especially home improvement, sadly are widespread.
Con artists pose as contractors and often target vulnerable people and take advantage of homeowners.
Unlicensed activity is against the law and can cause physical and financial harm.
Check to make sure that those you hire to work on your home hold the proper license. Plumbing, AC an roofing are just a few of the services that require a license.
If you do not intend to do the work yourself and have been asked by someone without a contractor’s license to pull the permit, you are at risk of financial harm.
Section 489.103 (7), Florida Statutes requires that when property owners act as their own contractor:
· You must supervise the work being performed.
· Any person working on your home, who is not licensed, must be employed by you. This means that you must deduct FICA and withholding tax, plus provide worker’s compensation for that employee.
· Without worker’s compensation insurance, you could be held liable for injuries incurred on your property.
· Typically, homeowner’s insurance policy will not honor your claim if the work being performed required a licensed contractor.
· You could end up responsible for thousands of dollars of medical bills.
It’s not only dangerous, but it’s against the law…
Section 455.227(1)(j) , Florida Statutes prohibits any person from aiding, assisting, procuring, employing or advising any unlicensed person or entity. Individuals who aid unlicensed persons may face fines of up to $5,000.
Other dangers of hiring an unlicensed person…
· Poor Qualifications: Unlicensed persons typically do not have the education, insurance, or qualification required of a license.
· Poor Quality Work: Unlicensed “contractors” typically do poor quality work or do not finish the project, leaving you to spend more money hiring another contractor to repair or finish the project or even start the whole project from scratch.
· Possible Criminal Background: Unlicensed persons often have criminal backgrounds that may include fraud, theft, violent crime, sexual offenses and substance abuse.
· Likelihood of a Scam: Unlicensed persons often disappear after taking your money, leaving you with very few options to help you get your money back or your work completed.
· Limited Resources for Broken Contracts: When you dispute with a licensed contractor, you call the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which has the authority to discipline and revoke licensing. However, this action is not available against unlicensed “contractors” and you may find the only legal recourse through an expensive and often fruitless civil suit.