Local sting results in 14 arrests

Manatee County Sheriff’s Officers worked together with the Manatee County Building and Development Services Department and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and charged 14 area men who were attempting contract work without proper licenses. Each man had submitted a proposal to undercover investigators for construction work that required a contractor’s license, which it turned out they didn’t have.

The suspects were given an unlicensed construction citation and were charged with a misdemeanor and issued a notice to appear in court. The DBPR also issued cease and desist orders to each man.

With the deflated economy, unlicensed contract work has become a more prevalent problem since many homeowners turn to the least expensive option.

Hiring an unlicensed contractor often leads to difficulties for a homeowner as these contractors can perform unsafe or subpar work, and then when the homeowner goes to sell the home, the seller may not be able to close the title with home improvements that were never permitted.

Homeowners can find a comprehensive list of licensed contractors with the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, the Home Builders Association of Manatee County or Manatee County Building and Development Services Department. Additionally, consumers can verify professional licenses through the DBPR’s website at www.myfloridalicense.com.

To report unlicensed building activity, call Manatee County Building Department (941) 749-3047, email complaints to ULA@dbpr.state.fl.us or call the DBPR unlicensed activity hotline at 1-866-532-1440. To learn more about Florida’s building codes or to apply for a permit, visit the Building and Development Services area of mymanatee.org

Building and Development Services Director John Barnott can be reached at (941) 748-4501, ext. 3887 or via e-mail at jbarnott@mymanatee.org.

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