The use of unqualified or unlicensed contractors often leads to unsafe and hazardous construction as well as additional cost, rework, and fines to the consumer. For example, the aftermath of a hurricane attracts unscrupulous and unlicensed contractors who follow disasters for the purpose of preying upon a community eager to rebuild.
The best way to safeguard against faulty and hazardous construction work is to make sure the contractor you hire has a valid contractor license. Do not allow unscrupulous people to take advantage of you because you are anxious to have your home repaired. Obtain more than one estimate and investigate the contractor’s qualifications.
The tips contained below are intended to assist you in getting value from the repairs made on your home or business and that all work is performed by qualified individuals, permits are obtained and inspections made.
The contractor does not display his contractor license on all vehicles, contracts and business cards. Ask to see a copy of the contractor’s license you are considering hiring.
The contractor shows you only an occupational license number or business tax number. These are not a contractor’s license.
The contractor does not have proof of insurance. Licensed contractors must have general liability, property damage and workers’ compensation insurance in effect always.
The contractor informs you that the job does not require a building permit. Check with your local Building Official. Almost all projects in unincorporated Miami-Dade County require a building permit, with a few exceptions. Contact your municipality’s building department for specific information about and regulations in your area. If your business is located in a municipality, contact your municipal building official for information about their building permit process.
The contractor claims it is cheaper and quicker for you to get the building permit yourself. A licensed contractor who is in good standing will always obtain the permit.
The contractor is not willing to put all terms in writing. Never accept a verbal contract. Do not make any payment without a written contract.
Someone other than the person or company contracting to do the work obtains the permit. A licensed contractor in good standing will always obtain their own permit.
A large down payment is requested before work begins; upfront payments should only be for a part of the work.
Progress payments should reflect approximately the work that has been done. Do not make final payment until proof of the final inspection is provided.
You are asked to make your check payable to an individual instead of a company name. You are asked to make a payment in cash, or you are asked to make the check payable to cash. Licensed contractors will almost always have a separate business account.
You can search our database for contractors or contact Contractor Licensing at 786-315-2880 to determine if contractor have been licensed for work by Miami-Dade County. In addition, searches can be made to find out if complaints have been filed on contractors working in Miami-Dade County.
The Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) regulates licensed contractors and provides enforcement against unlicensed contractors. Contact Contractor Licensing at 786-315-2880, or dialing 311, or email [email protected] to verify if there are any complaints against the contractor, whether the contractor is licensed and whether the contractor has current liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Licensed contractors must always have general liability and worker’s compensation insurance in effect.
You may also contact the State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) at 850-487-1395 or check online to determine if the contractor is licensed, insured, or has complaints/violations on record.
The use of unqualified or unlicensed contractors often leads to unsafe and hazardous construction as well as additional cost, rework, and fines to the consumer. Contracting without a license is a crime (F.S. 775.082 and 775.083). Check the following facts about unlicensed contractors:
It is illegal to advertise construction services without a license Advertising services regulated by Chapter 10, Miami-Dade County Code or Chapter 489, Florida Statutes, without proper certification is a misdemeanor.
Subject to arrest and incarceration First degree misdemeanors may be punished up to one year of imprisonment. During the existence of a state of emergency declared by the Governor, felonies of the third degree may be sentenced up to five years of imprisonment.
Face fines, penalties and administrative fees Fines up to $5,000.00 per count plus restitution and administrative fees may be levied against violators.
Customers do not have to pay Contracts entered by an unlicensed contractor are unenforceable in law or in equity by the unlicensed contractor.
Cannot work openly; must conceal activities Working after hours to hide from enforcement activities will eventually be discovered. The investigators follow-up on cases and reports of unlicensed activity always, including weekends.
Cannot obtain insurance Insurance companies recognize that unlicensed contractors represent too great a risk to insure at any price.
Cannot legally obtain permit Applications for permits are only accepted from contractors holding a current certificate of competency and license in their respective field. All work performed without permits is deemed to be unsafe by the Florida Building Code.
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