Over the past few weeks, Floridians statewide have been affected by unexpected tornadoes and rainstorms that resulted in devastating damage to their homes or businesses. Structural damage resulting from tornadoes or severe storms often requires construction services performed by licensed construction contractors. After the emotional toll that natural disasters may cause, it’s crucial that consumers protect themselves from unlicensed individuals to avoid further financial stress or safety concerns.
Unfortunately, it’s common for unlicensed individuals to take advantage of homeowners after a natural disaster strikes by offering to make repairs for dubiously low prices, performing substandard or shoddy work and often leaving without finishing a job. Our goal at DBPR is to make it easier for you to make good decisions for your family when selecting a construction contractor to make repairs to your damaged home or business.
Prior to hiring a contractor, signing a contract or making any payments, consumers should contact their insurance company to confirm coverage, verify the state license of a contractor, get written estimates from several licensed contractors and always check references. These simple steps can help ensure your home is taken care of and repairs are kept to professional standards. Once you’ve identified the licensed contractor you’d like to hire, make sure the written contract includes the contractor’s name, street address, telephone number, state license number, a description of work to be completed, completion date, warranty agreements and a notice of consumers’ rights under the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund for contracts involving general, residential and building contractors.
In response to the widespread tornado damage, DBPR investigators are actively canvassing the Sarasota, Manatee and Cape Coral areas to catch unlicensed individuals attempting to prey on homeowners with tornado damage and reminding consumers to verify licenses and report suspected unlicensed activity. I am urging consumers in these areas to use caution when making hiring decisions and report any suspected unlicensed activity directly to DBPR by calling the Unlicensed Activity Hotline at 866-532-1440 or using the free DBPR Mobile app.
Unlicensed activity can cause undue harm to both homeowners and licensed professionals. By remaining alert and keeping a lookout for unlicensed activity following a storm or natural disaster, you can help DBPR protect the comfort and safety of our neighbors, families and friends. My heart goes out to the families and businesses impacted by the recent storm damage, and I wish to remind consumers that DBPR is here to help alleviate the unnecessary financial and safety risks associated with unlicensed individuals.
Department of Business and
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
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