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Homeowners must remain vigilant about unlicensed contractors

Even though we are currently in the middle of September, it's important to remember that hurricane season here in Florida lasts all the way through the end of November. While we've been incredibly fortunate to go without a hurricane for quite some time now and appear to be on course for another (hopefully) quiet year, we are nevertheless always at risk of some type of severe weather, including bring torrential rains, high winds and damaging hail.

In the event we do see this kind of weather pattern cut a path of destruction somewhere in the state, it's important for homeowners in affected areas to exercise caution before retaining the services of a contractor.

That's because experts say it's not uncommon for unlicensed contractors to pour into storm-ravaged areas where repair services are in high demand, looking to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners eager to get things back in order.

It's important for these homeowners to understand that anyone looking to perform any type of service or job in a profession regulated by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation must obtain the necessary state licensure. Some of the projects that would require such licensure from the DBPR include installing new roofs, repairing roofs, repairing plumbing, repairing electrical and installing new windows.

Indeed, homeowners should be aware that this requirement holds true even if the out-of-state contractor who approaches them has an otherwise valid license in their home state.  

To show how seriously Florida takes this matter, consider that the crime of performing unlicensed construction work is elevated to a third-degree felony during declared States of Emergency.

We'll continue this discussion in our next post, exploring some of the ways in which homeowners can protect themselves from inadvertently hiring an unlicensed contractor. 

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