Homeowners whose remodeling jobs have been derailed by unscrupulous contractors have an advocate at Palm Coast City Hall. Addressing accounts of duplicity, such as residents being abandoned with huge loan payments or contractors lending their licenses to each other for work they’re unqualified to do, Compliance Supervisor Luis Mendez takes each report seriously. Every case is unique; each incident distressing.
When Luis receives a resident’s statement regarding dishonesty from a Flagler County registered contractor, he opens a thorough investigation to find out exactly what happened and how, following both the Code Enforcement and Building Department processes. Cases usually involve either unlicensed contractors, those with licenses who work beyond the scope of their qualifications, or those who cause hardship to a consumer. His work involves researching consumer complaints and following up with investigatory work and resulting reports that are supplemental to the complaint. Once he can build a suitable case, he presents it to the Flagler County Contractor Licensing Review Board for arbitration and restitution. Sometimes cases are forwarded to the Florida State Attorney’s office for further scrutiny.
“Luis has been serving Palm Coast citizens in the Code Enforcement Department since 2007,” Code Enforcement Manager Barbara Grossman says. “He’s extremely familiar with all aspects of City Code and he’s also a former New York City detective. There’s no one more methodical and detailed than Luis when it comes to investigating devious contractors and finally compensating members of our community.”
Luis and the City’s Community Development Department ask residents to consider that before they hire someone to do plumbing, electrical work, room remodeling, roofing or other similar jobs in your home, to please perform your due diligence beforehand:
- Research a contractor online on their company website or the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations.
- Don’t sign anything until you’ve done your research. Ask for referrals and call each one to verify their satisfaction with the work performed.
- Never give a contractor a large deposit upfront for a job.
- Note that a contractor is required to record a Notice of Commencement with the County Clerk and Recorder for jobs valued above $2,500. This ensures homeowners are informed that their contractor will begin work and that they are aware of the processes involved.
“No one should ever be taken advantage of in Palm Coast,” Luis states. “Residents need to know that we are working very hard to ensure they receive justice from illegal activity from unlicensed contractors or licensed contractors that perform work that is not in their scope of work. This not only brings justice to our residents but also to the licensed hard-working contractors that conduct business in our City.”
If you are concerned about a contractor’s job at your residence, please contact the City of Palm Coast’s Business Tax Receipt Department at 386-986-3766 or the Code Enforcement Department at 386-986-3764. You can find registered contractor’s in Palm Coast by visiting: https://www.palmcoastgov.com/search/contractors