RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- There is a new rule for unlicensed contractors in North Carolina, which means you now even have to be even more careful when hiring someone to do any work.
The law used to be for any job under $30,000, you didn't need a contractor's license. However, that has all changed due to a new law that took effect on October 1. Under the new law, the threshold is now any work less than $40,000 you don't need to be licensed.
Over the years, Troubleshooter Diane Wilson has shown you homeowner after homeowner who lost money to an unlicensed contractor. One of the most recent unlicensed contractors, James Dunbar took thousands of dollars for pool contracts from homeowners in Fayetteville, Hope Mills, and Raeford and didn't finish the work. He told Wilson he kept all of his contracts under $30,000, which meant he didn't need to be licensed.
While Dunbar is now facing several criminal charges related to the unfinished jobs, the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors can't investigate Dunbar since his contracts didn't cross the $30,000 threshold. Nor can any of these homeowners be eligible for the NC Homeowner's Recovery Fund.
The Troubleshooter takeaways to remember when hiring anyone for work is you need to do your research. Don't just hire someone without checking out past jobs, make sure you talk to past customers to see their experience. You also need to make sure you get everything in writing, as getting a written contract is key. Also, remember to never pay a large portion of the contract upfront. Do it in phases or once you inspect the work that is done.
Also if the contractor says they are licensed, get their license number and check it online here. Don't just rely on the contractors word. There are plenty of good unlicensed and licensed contractors here in the area, but raising the threshold from $30,000 to up to $40,000 could be an opportunity for some of the bad ones to take advantage of people.