Photo of Melany Hernandez

Melany Hernandez is an associate in Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt's Business Litigation Department. She served as an intern in the firm's 2021 Summer Associate program, where she displayed a keen understanding and appreciation for the law. She devotes herself to seeking and studying legal remedies that will result in the most favorable outcome for her client. Melany is admitted to practice in all Florida state courts.

Melany is a first-generation American born to Colombian immigrant parents who had an American dream. That dream has inspired Melany her whole life, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to help people. During her time at Florida Gulf Coast University, she realized her passion was to be a part of the American legal system. Since then, she has had the honor of working two years as the District Representative for former U.S. Congressman Francis Rooney, externing for U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli of the Middle District of Florida, and serving on the editorial board of the Fort Myers News Press representing the voice of young adults in Lee County.

Melany was born and raised in Miami and now lives in Fort Myers, Florida. She plays guitar and has fond memories of representing Miami as part of a competitive synchronized swimming team for many years. She is fluent in Spanish.

unlicensed contractors Hurricane Ian made direct landfall in Southwest Florida, destroying thousands of homes and buildings. The destruction will now require the mobilization of hundreds of contractors in the construction industry. Unfortunately, a tragedy like Hurricane Ian will also attract a number of unlicensed contractors who will try and take advantage of desperate victims trying to rebuild their homes and businesses.

As Southwest Florida starts the rebuilding phase, here are a few things residents should be aware of:

Before you hire a contractor, ask to see their state-issued license

Whether you need roof repairs or mold-related services, you want to ensure the person you hire is licensed and insured. The definition of “contractor” under Section 489.105, Florida Statutes, requires that any person who seeks to

construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure” must have a license.

Allowing an unlicensed contractor to perform work on your property puts you at risk of liability and could cost you more in the end. Generally, unlicensed contractors do not have workers’ compensation and liability insurance. As a result, the property owner may be liable for any injuries that occur on site.

You may check your contractor’s license by going to

Unlicensed contracting is a felony

In Florida, unlicensed contracting is generally charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1,000.00 fine.

Continue Reading Unlicensed Contractors: What You Need to Know