Warning issued about Unlicensed contractors - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Warning issued about unlicensed contractors

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Planning and Development Services Sr. Examiner Tracy Hester Planning and Development Services Sr. Examiner Tracy Hester
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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Unlicensed contractors are out there looking for work, and the Home Builders Association of Albany and Southwest Georgia say you could lose big money if you hire them.  

New state law requires home builders and contractors to qualify through the Secretary of State's Office for a license, but licensed contractors say that many people in South Georgia are still working without the proper license or permits.  

Chad McDonald puts the final touches on a new home he built in Lee County. McDonald is the state and national director for the Home Builders Association, and wants everyone building a home or having work done to ask their contractor for their state license.

"It's from the Secretary of State's office. It has your business name on it, your license name on it. Any licensed contractor should be willing to show it, able to show it."

Home builders and county building inspectors say there is a problem with unlicensed builders working in South Georgia.

City of Albany Planning and Development Services Senior Examiner Tracy Hester said "It happens fairly frequently."

The Home Builders Association has started a campaign to educate people what to look for when hiring builders, and to expose unlicensed contractors. 

"We are putting out a warning to these guys. The Secretary of State's office is investigating and the Homebuilder's Association is investigating. Anybody that we can find building homes without a license we are going to turn them in," McDonald said.

There are specialty craftsmen like roofers or vinyl siding installers who don't need that state license, but they do require local permits. Building inspectors say consumers need to make sure that anyone working on their home posts those permits to make sure they are covered if there are problems.

"If they see this, then there is probably a good indication they didn't pull a permit," Hester said.

Contractors have to pay a lot to get those state license, insurance, and permits, and unlicensed builders can work cheaper. But if the work is not done correctly the homeowner probably will be the one to have to pay to get it corrected.

The Homeowners Association of Albany and Southwest Georgia is asking you to report unlicensed contractors so that the state can shut them down. County inspectors are supposed to enforce the state license law by refusing permits, and both McDonald and Hester admit there is confusion in the state law, which specialty is covered and which is not.

McDonald says the Home Builders Association is working to make sure state education is standardized throughout the counties.

Secretary of State Karen Handel will be in Albany Tuesday. The Home Builders Association will meet with her about this issue.

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