Find out how to protect yourself from unlicensed contractors.
Shortly after Rick Staly was sworn in as Flagler County sheriff, his wife received a call at their home from a company asking if they needed any roof repairs from Hurricane Matthew damages. When the sheriff’s wife asked if the company was licensed and insured, the phone disconnected.
Staly then directed the Investigative Services Division to conduct Operation Wrong Number to identify and arrest people contracting without a license.
After a three-day undercover operation involving the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and the city of Palm Coast, investigators placed calls to individuals who had advertised services that would have required that they possess a Florida contractor’s license. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office ran a simultaneous undercover operation.
Investigators then scheduled appointments with these unlicensed individuals to receive an estimate for work at a home on Claridge Court, Palm Coast. (The home was supplied in cooperation with the Flagler Homebuilders Association.)
After initial visits with the unlicensed contractors last week, investigators moved in Wednesday to arrest five individuals on charges of Performing Construction without a License and/or Electrical work without a License. Additional charges were filed on other unlicensed contractors, and some of those arrested were charged with multiple offenses.
“There is a reason that contractor licenses are required when performing these types of services,” Staly said. “Not only does it ensure that the work is meeting safety standards required by building codes, but it protects the homeowner from shady service or the possibility of getting ripped off. Homeowners need to be aware of the risk they take when they hire someone who is not licensed or insured.”
If anyone has questions about whether a contractor is licensed or whether they need building permits before doing work on their home or business, contact the city of Palm Coast Building Department at 986-3780. Or, residents can easily access the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation website to see if a contractor is licensed. This should be done before any money changes hands. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation website is http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/
Unlicensed activity is illegal and can result in misdemeanor or felony charges if an individual is convicted. Residents may report any suspected unlicensed activity by emailing [email protected] or calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 1‐866‐532‐1440.