Florida Home Owners Face Risk Hiring Unlicensed Contractors

Daniel Vasquez, a columnist from the Sun Sentinel asks in a May, 6th., 2012, article, “Would you place your air-conditioning unit or roof in the hands of a fly-by-night company to save a buck? Are there more unlicensed contractors offering bargains across Florida because of the bad economy?”

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America, are looking for the answer. For the past five months they have met with local contractors across the state to try to understand how widespread the problem of unlicensed contractor activity is, and to explore the possible solutions.

Vasquez writes that the most recent forum was held three weeks ago at The Westin in Fort Lauderdale, where three-dozen contractors showed up to gripe and strategize.

“What we heard in Fort Lauderdale is a reiteration of what we have heard from contractors throughout the state,” said Phil London, former president of the Florida chapter of the ACCA and current vice chair of the national organization, which represents more than 4,000 contractors. Based on what he heard at the forums held in South and Central Florida, “unlicensed activities seem to be increasing with the downturn of the economy and lack of enforcement funds within local building departments,” London said.

It was reported that Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation received 797 complaints related to air-conditioning companies in 2011, compared to 1,056 in 2010.

According to the Sun-Sentinel article, contractors at the Orlando and Fort Lauderdale meetings said among the issues that lead to unlicensed activity is the fact that wholesalers may sell air-conditioning equipment to unlicensed contractors, and that homeowners too often feel comfortable hiring a “handyman” for repairs and installations. This could result in risks to the homeowner. If someone whould get hurt while working on your property, you could be sued. Also, the unlicensed contracted may not have the proper insurance or capital to repair damage caused to property.

Vasquez says that  taking chances with your biggest investment is not worth the risk. It only takes homework and time to find a reputable contractor. Along with air-conditioning companies, the state requires about two-dozen industries to be registered or certified, including roofing, plumbing and swimming pool companies.

Soreide Law Group, PLLC, will represent you in front of the Florida Board of Contractors regarding licensing issues. To make an appointment to speak with an experienced and qualified attorney please call Soreide Law Group at: (888) 760-6552 or visit our website at: www.floridaprofessionallicense.com .