Jacksonville Unlicensed Contractors Attorney
Hurricanes, windstorms, tropical storms and other severe storms may threaten your Jacksonville home every year, from roof damage and flood damage to total destruction. Getting your home repaired after a major storm is a high priority. You want it done quickly, and you want it done right. Unfortunately, unscrupulous “contractors” swarm into Jacksonville after a storm and inundate homeowners with contracts before floodwaters have even had a chance to recede. They take your money but they don’t do any work. They get you to assign your insurance claim over to them, and then they inflate the claim to bilk more money out of the insurance company.
Florida law requires contractors performing many different types of work to be appropriately licensed by the state. If work was performed by an unlicensed contractor who should have been licensed, you may not have to pay the contractor for the work performed. If the contractor completed the work in a negligent manner, you may be able to hire a licensed professional to fix the defective work and then bring a lawsuit against the unlicensed contractor for the additional expense it cost you to get the job done right. Jacksonville construction law attorney Daniel M. Copeland can help you iron out a dispute with an unlicensed contractor and make sure you get the work you paid for or get your money back, and also recover compensation for any damage done to your property through the contractor’s malfeasance. Learn more about unlicensed contractors below, and contact Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. for a free consultation regarding your potential claims.
Misrepresenting yourself as an unlicensed contractor in Florida is a crime
Under Florida law, it is illegal for individuals or businesses to hold themselves out as licensed when they are not. Florida Statutes 489.127 makes this crime a first degree misdemeanor for a first offense, and it is a third degree felony if the person has a prior conviction for this crime. It is also a third degree felony to wrongly hold yourself out as a licensed contractor during a state of emergency, such as after a devastating or destructive storm. The state has the power to issue a stop-work order against an unlicensed contractor and issue a citation with penalties up to $2,000 per day.
Unlicensed contractors have no construction contract rights and can be liable for triple damages
Florida law also states that contracts made by unlicensed contractors are not enforceable in court, meaning the homeowner or property owner cannot be forced to pay for work performed by the unlicensed contractor. Additionally, an unlicensed contractor would not have any construction lien or bond claim rights to force payment.
If the consumer is injured due to faulty construction, the homeowner can recover triple the amount of damages caused by the unlicensed contractor, who can also be held liable for the homeowner’s attorney’s fees. Florida Statutes 768.0425 states:
In any action against a contractor for injuries sustained resulting from the contractor’s negligence, malfeasance, or misfeasance, the consumer shall be entitled to three times the actual compensatory damages sustained in addition to costs and attorney’s fees if the contractor is neither certified as a contractor by the state nor licensed as a contractor pursuant to the laws of the municipality or county within which she or he is conducting business.
Other remedies may include disgorgement (forcing the contractor to cough up monies already paid) as well as filing an unfair trade practice claim under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. These laws may not apply in every situation or to every individual or company. As both an experienced contractor and developer and an experienced construction law attorney, Daniel M. Copeland knows when the law applies to an unlicensed contractor and what the proper steps to take are to make sure your rights are properly protected, that the work you need is performed properly, and that you are compensated for any harm done.
Protect Yourself from Unlicensed Contractors in Jacksonville
In Jacksonville and surrounding areas, contact Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. for a free evaluation of your claims against an unlicensed contractor. We’ll let you know if you have a case and how we can help.