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 www.myfloridalicense.com.
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.