Last time, our blog started discussing the unfortunate reality that people here in Florida whose homes are left devastated by some sort of severe weather must always remain diligent when considering the services of a contractor to repair storm damage.
Specifically, we discussed how unlicensed contractors are often out in full force as soon as the last clouds clear, looking to capitalize on the desperation of otherwise unsuspecting homeowners wanting nothing more than to return their residence to its usual state.
In today's post, we'll explore some very simple yet very effective steps that homeowners in this situation can take to protect themselves from inadvertently hiring an unlicensed contractor.
Do your homework
While certain storm-related jobs like removing debris, installing tarps on broken roofs or removing fallen trees can be performed without licensure from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, there are other jobs for which unlicensed performance is not an option -- even if the contractor has a license in their home state.
As we said last time, some of the storm-related jobs that would require DBPR licensure include new roof and window installation, and roof repair work.
What this means is that before hiring a contractor, homeowners in these situations should contact the DBPR to see if a license is required for the type of work they want performed, as well as their local building department to learn of any additional permitting requirements.
Harness the power of the Internet
If a homeowner determines that DBPR licensure is required, they need to make the necessary inquiries with the contractor and secure their license number -- which they are legally obligated to provide on all advertising. Indeed, before agreeing to or signing any document, they should consider verifying the validity of the license number provided by the contractor at the DBPR website.
Always trust your instinct
Above all else, experts advise homeowners in these situations to trust their instinct about a contractor. Some possible warning signs include high-pressure sales tactics or demands for cash up-front.
Here's hoping these tips prove helpful and that we continue to see sunny skies throughout the state.