Sunday, October 13, 2013

Be Aware! Charlotte County eyeballing home repairs

An article in the Herald Tribune (9/18) titled “Charlotte sweeps unlicensed contracting” gave a heads-up to homeowners.  Several months ago, Charlotte County hired 3 new workers, two inspectors and a building official that specializes in investigating unlicensed and/or not permitted contracting.  He previously worked for the state Workmans’ Compensation.

Where regular code compliance is complaint driven, this new ‘enforcer’ goes out looking for violations. And homeowners need to be aware of the problems that can come up:

1- You can run into trouble if you don’t have the proper permit for the job. Getting caught in the middle of a job that hasn’t been permitted properly can cause delays. And while you can get the permit after the fact, it can cost up to 4 times the amount that you would have paid before the fact. Island Watch suggests that you check the county website for information on permitting at http://www.charlottecountyfl.com/BCS/Permit/permit_requirements.aspYou will find that just about everything needs a permit.

2- Hire a licensed contractor. Even if they are licensed, “handymen” are very limited as to what they can do. Be aware that unlicensed workers frequently have no insurance. If an unlicensed worker is injured, often they are forced to sue you for compensation.  And homeowners liability insurance does not cover worker injuries.  Finally, with an unlicensed worker you have no recourse if you get substandard work.

3-Get all of your inspections done. If you don’t close your permit by getting your final inspections done, you could end up having to do the work over again. The code may have changed since the permit was pulled, and you may have to re-do the work to be compliant with current code. Or for instance, if you close a wall before the final inspection, you may have to open it up again so the inspector can check the electrics. The County may be slow, but eventually they do catch up with permits that have not been closed.  Don’t get caught up short.

And finally, don’t forget that permits are required for things like mangrove trimming, dock construction, or any work that involves the moving of tortoises and/or their burrows

Click HERE for copy of Herald Tribune article.

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