Home improvement work includes everything from minor remodeling to large-scale rehabilitation. It involves alterations, additions, siding and garages, patios and terraces, fences, swimming pools and central vacuum cleaning systems. There are many different reasons to undertake a home improvement project, but it is important to hire the right professionals.
In Florida, the Home Improvement Contract Law requires that home improvement contractors be registered. They must also follow certain standards for advertising, payment, and business practices. If a contractor does not meet these requirements, he can be fined. The penalties can range from $500 to $5,000, depending on the county.
Another law that applies to home improvement in the city is the Payment Protection Act. This requires that a contractor provide a written contract outlining the work to be performed, the payment schedule, and the deadline for the project. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in civil penalties of $250-$2,500.
When a customer believes that a contractor has engaged in fraudulent or improper activity, he may sue for actual damages or reasonable attorneys’ fees. Consumers may file complaints with the Office of Consumer Protection. A complaint is a formal request to the Attorney General to stop illegal activities. However, it does not guarantee that a consumer will receive compensation.
In some counties, it is a Class A misdemeanor to engage in “home improvement” without a license. Contractors can be prosecuted for violating the Payment Protection Act.
The Attorney General may also pursue a legal action against contractors for violations of the Home Improvement Contract Law. Depending on the severity of the violation, the attorney general may order the contractor to compensate the consumer.
For consumers who have encountered home improvement fraud, it is best to work with a licensed, bonded, and insured contractor. It is recommended to obtain at least three quotes from different companies. Ask them about the experience they had with their previous customers. Be sure to get a written cost estimate, the timeframe for the project, and the materials the contractor will use.
It is also a good idea to ask about the general contractor’s insurance coverage. Make sure the St. Petersburg general contractor you hire has enough workers’ comp insurance to cover the work.
Having a written contract protects the homeowner if the contractor is unable to perform the work. If a contractor fails to fulfill his obligations under a written contract, the customer can file a complaint with the Office of Consumer Protection. An enforcement hearing will be held to determine whether the contractor complied with the requirements of the law.
The Office of Consumer Protection will suspend or revoke a home improvement contractor’s registration. As a result, he is not eligible for money through the Guaranty Fund. He can face $100 to $500 in civil penalties for each day of unlicensed activity.
Home improvement projects can take up a lot of time and energy. Getting the project done on time and within the budget can save you a great deal of time and money. Hiring a general contractor can ensure that the project is completed in a timely manner and that the job is done to code.