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Construction law: Florida fraud investigation nets 5 arrests

In times of crisis, it is easy to succumb to the temptation of a quick and affordable fix. After a hurricane or other destructive storm has damaged your property is one such time of crisis. While you may feel blessed to have survived a hurricane, you may also feel desperate about having your home repaired.

Construction law prohibits unlicensed contractors from making these repairs, even in times of crisis. Unfortunately, fraudsters and even skilled but unlicensed contractors seem to come out of the woodwork in the wake of a hurricane. Earlier this month, Florida officials arrested five individuals for "contracting without a license" in a time of emergency. The arrests were the result of a three-month construction fraud investigation that began in the wake of the state's severe hurricane season.

The state government does recognize the need for roof repairs following a storm as well as the lack of properly licensed contractors to perform these repairs. As such, the governor made it temporarily legal for licensed "general, building and residential contractors" to perform roofing repairs. Under normal circumstances, only specially licensed contractors are permitted to make these repairs.

For property owners, this entire situation is a classic example of being stuck in a difficult situation. Homeowners desperately need their homes repaired after a hurricane when it is hard to find licensed contractors that are available to do the work. However, before succumbing to a quick fix, remember that construction law exists to protect you and your contractor alike.

It is also a good time to remind residents of the state that it may be possible to find a legal remedy for shoddy and defective home repairs. A construction law attorney can provide you with advice and guidance that is relevant to your situation.

Source: Construction Dive, "FL officials arrest 5 unlicensed contractors for post-Irma fraud," Kim Slowey, Nov. 08, 2017

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