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Prieto Bill to Crack Down on Plumbing, HVAC Contractors Practicing Without a License Passes Assembly

(TRENTON) – The Assembly on Thursday cleared legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto that would make it a fourth degree crime to advertise or perform plumbing or HVAC services without proper credentials. The Assembly approved the bill 74-0.

“Through increased penalties, we aim to better protect the public interest and safety by deterring unscrupulous and unqualified contractors from swindling residents out of time and money,” said Prieto (D-Hudson).

The bill (A-4317) provides that any person, firm, partnership, corporation or other legal entity that has been found to have worked or provided services as a master plumber, plumbing contractor, or master HVACR contractor without a license, or advertised in any manner or used any title or designation associated with master plumbers, plumbing contractors, or master HVACR contractors without a license is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

“Residents deserve to know that who they hire for any contracted work are legally licensed to perform the job,” continued Prieto. “Unfortunately, there are some contractors who believe it’s acceptable to work without licensure and to not inform customers of their lack of state certification. Well, it’s not acceptable. If we are to protect consumers from fraudulent and dishonest contractors, we need to raise the stakes on operating without a license.”

A crime of the fourth degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months or fine of up to $10,000 or both.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee on February 27. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.