Palm Coast - Now that Dorian has passed by Palm Coast, here are a few reminders for homeowners to protect themselves and their money.

Assignment of Benefits Fraud

Although the state legislature recently passed laws to further protect homeowners, it is still not a good idea to sign an Assignment of Benefits Form from a contractor that comes knocking on your door. Some Assignment of Benefits Forms that we have seen during past hurricanes require the homeowner to pay the contractor several thousand dollars, even If the insurance claim is rejected. If you feel you have storm damage, contact your insurance company.  The new laws have placed stricter requirements on Insurance companies to respond to your claim, in a timely manner.

Door-to-Door Solicitation

The City of Palm Coast requires all persons offering services or products that travel door-to-door in residential areas, to possess a City of Palm Coast Solicitation Permit. Solicitation permits are person specific and require a criminal background check to be performed prior to issuance. There is no such thing as a blanket Door-to-Door Solicitation Permit for companies. The permits must be in the individual's name. Soliciting door-to-door within the City of Palm Coast without a permit is classified as a misdemeanor. Unpermitted Door-to-Door Solicitation, within the City of Palm Coast, is addressed by the sheriff's office.

Tree Service Businesses

You should never pay for tree services in advance. Payment should only be made after the work is complete. In the past, residents have paid hundreds of dollars in advance to tree service companies only to be placed on a waiting list. Many times the tree service companies have either not returned at all or have only completed part of the work, leaving debris behind for the property owner to deal with.

Owner Builder Permits

Home owners should never obtain home owner/builder permits for unlicensed contractors. If you do not intend to do the work yourself and are asked by someone without a contractor's license to pull the permit, you are at risk of harm, both by penalty and injury.

Chapter 489.103(7), Florida Statutes: Owners of property must supervise the work being performed. Any person working on your building who is not licensed must be employed by you, which means that you must deduct F.I.C.A. and withholding tax and provide workers' compensation for that employee. Without workers compensation insurance, you could be held liable for injuries received on your property. Typically, your homeowners' insurance policy will not honor your claim if the work being performed required a licensed contractor. You could end up responsible for thousands of dollars of medical bills.

Chapter 455.227, Florida Statues: Any person who knowingly aids, assists, procures, employs or advises an unlicensed individual can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor and may face fines of up to $5,000 for each offense.