With a shortage of contractors and lots of repairs after Irma, it may be tempting to hire whoever you can find to fix your house. However, be aware of scammers posed as licensed contractors willing to do repairs and construction. The elderly are more prone to these scams due to lack of mobility and other options. Some fake contractors might just take off with the money when they receive it, some might start the work and never finish, or they’ll simply do a bad job.
Authorities in Pinellas County, Florida (in the Clearwater/St. Petersburg area) just started cracking down on this chronic issue.
Deputies went after 20 contractors accused of working without licences and workers’ compensation insurance. Without workers’ compensation insurance, they can sue the property owner if they get injured on the job. One count of unlicensed contracting is a misdemeanor, while more than one counts as a felony. The men who scammed homeowners out of money face felony grand theft charges. (Tampa Bay Times)
Hire an attorney to review and redact your written agreement with the contractor to avoid getting scammed.