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June, 2002

No License, No Pay!

With Spring well upon us, and Summer not far behind, many homeowners think of landscaping and remodeling of their homes. One thing we must all remember is that landscapers and home improvement contractors must be licensed by Nassau County in order to legally do business with you.

"If a contractor is unlicensed at the time of contracting, the contract is illegal and void, and courts will not allow for recovery of any unpaid balance due the contractor, despite the work having been completed," stated Roger C. Bogsted, Commissioner, Nassau County Office of Consumer Affairs. "Additionally, the contractor cannot subsequently obtain a license from the County with the intention to then sue the homeowner for the lost income from a contract that was entered into while the contractor was unlicensed. So, use a licensed contractor, get a written contract, and protect yourself from what could be a homeowner’s nightmare, poor workmanship, undue delay in work completion, and unnecessary litigation."

Homeowners seeking information about whether a contractor is licensed or not, may call the Consumer Affairs Hotline, 516-571-2600. Not only can you find out whether the contractor is licensed, but staff members can give you a six-year history of complaints and resolutions as well.

"We are here to help and protect our homeowners in Nassau County and those constractor that skirt the law will receive the appropriate penalties available to us under the law," Bogsted related. "We have subpoena power, we can refer cases to the District Attorney or to the Office of the County Attorney. Penalties of $1,000 for each infraction and a jail sentence of six months could also be imposed, so, it is in the best interests of those home improvement contractors and landscapers who are not licensed, to come into our offices and get licensed now."