After a hurricane strikes, it’s not all that uncommon to see construction companies circling affected neighborhoods looking to see if anyone needs for repairs to be made to their home. While many of the contractors that are circling about are licensed, just as many others are not. Oftentimes, the unlicensed contractors are the ones offering the lowest bids because they have very little overhead.
If you decide to go with an unlicensed contractor, it’s important to know that if a problem arises with them, even if there was a contract in place with them, it may not be able to be enforced. Instead, you may be left on the hook yourself for making repairs to remedy whatever partial or improperly handled job they may leave behind.
The reason you may ultimately be left responsible fixing an unlicensed contractors shoddy repairs is because a judge may feel as if you didn’t do your own necessary due diligence to hire a licensed professional with liability insurance. Had you done so, the dispute would have been a mute issue as you could have filed a claim with the construction company’s insurance carrier.
In hiring a unlicensed contractor, you also risk that person becoming injured on your property. If someone is hurt on your premises and doesn’t carry some type of workers’ compensation coverage, then it’s possible he or she may file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance carrier. They may submit ambulance and hospital bills, costs which ultimately get passed onto you in the form of higher monthly premiums.
Additionally, if the work the unlicensed contractor completes is either done without a permit being taken out or is not to code, you may be required to have the work reversed, pay fines or redo the work to be compliant. Also, if the contractor hires subcontractors, you’ll ultimately be on the hook for paying them. Any failure to do so could result in a lien being placed on your home.
The short-term benefits you may derive from hiring an unlicensed contractor to complete work on your home may end up being more costly than doing it the right way the first time around. If you’ve hired a contractor that hasn’t performed work at the level you’d expected, then you may benefit from discussing potential legal remedies in your case with a Melbourne, Florida, construction litigation attorney.
Source: Exovations, “Unlicensed contractors: What you need to know so you're not on the hook,” accessed Sep. 06, 2017