RI officials cracking down on unregistered contractors

Related: RI officials cracking down on unlicensed contractors »

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board is working to crack down on unregistered contractors.

Only Target 12 went on the road, following inspectors for a full day in June. Many contractors were registered, properly insured, and had all of the permits they needed. But there were several work sites that racked up violations.

In all, the Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board checked 29 work sites throughout the state.

The enhanced enforcement is part of a nationwide effort through the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA). Eight states participated in the sweep: Rhode Island, Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

In all, NASCLA said the sweep uncovered 675 people who failed to comply with state requirements.

Related: How to protect yourself when hiring a contractor »

In Rhode Island, 17 violations were issued, according to George Whalen, executive director of the state’s Contractors Registration and Licensing Board.

“We found that there were 17 people that didn’t have the proper credentials or hired people that weren’t properly registered with the board,” Whalen told Target 12, adding that each violation comes with a fine of up to $5,000.

“If they come in and get registered and resolve that dispute, then we usually reduce the fine down,” Whalen explained. “That means they’ve had to pay for insurance, and they’re going to get back on the books.”

The goal is to protect consumers. Whalen said most people don’t realize that if a contractor doesn’t have up-to-date insurance and registration, a homeowner could be liable for anything that goes wrong on his or her property.

“The reality is that they would go after you, and your insurance would probably be impacted by that,” Whalen said.

Click here to check a contractor’s registration »

Whalen said the enhanced enforcement effort also levels the playing field for legitimate contractors who are often outbid by unregistered, uninsured workers.