A Senate committee on Monday advanced legislation sponsored by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin that would make it a fourth degree crime to advertise or perform plumbing or heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration services without proper credentials.
“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 people 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.”
“The use of unqualified labor puts the public at risk,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “The state has a duty to protect the people of New Jersey and preserve the integrity of the plumbing and HVACR fields by penalizing those who practice without the proper credentials.”
A crime of the fourth degree is ordinarily punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
The bill, which received unanimous Assembly approval in March, was advanced by the Senate Commerce Committee.