An alleged unlicensed upstate New York landscaper has found out what happens when you get caught. According to a Patch.com story, a man named Rob Louch — the subject of several complaints from local licensed landscape contractors — had his tools and other equipment impounded by Rockland County Consumer Protection inspectors after he was observed mowing a lawn in Pearl River.
The inspectors were assisted by Rockland County Sheriff’s officers, who issued an appearance ticket for a future court date in Orangetown.
He faces a charge of performing unlicensed home improvement, a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, he’ll receive a fine not exceeding $1,000 or up to one year in prison or both.
This arrest was just one of numerous complaints the county’s Office of Consumer Protection has received from legitimate landscape professionals concerning unlicensed tradespeople, Director Jim Elcik said in an announcement.
The confiscation and ticketing happened thanks to an updated 2009 Rockland County Consumer Home Improvement Protection Act. The updated Act permits the authorities to impound equipment and vehicles of unlicensed contractors. It was passed to create an incentive for contractors to apply for the proper licenses.
“This is a prime example of the importance of having this specific tool in our toolbox,” said County Executive Ed Day, according to the story. “Let this serve as a warning to any other unlicensed landscapers: we expect you to follow the same rules as everyone else. We're not looking to impound your equipment but if you continue to flagrantly violate the law, make no mistake about it, we will do so.”
A home improvement license in Rockland County costs $325. Approximately 1,834 licensed home improvement contractors currently operate within the county.
“The degree of enforcement against an unlicensed contractor depends on the severity of their violations and the complaints against them,” Elcik was quoted as saying. “We want to ensure that every contractor has the proper liability and worker’s compensation insurance. This protects homeowners and property owners in case a contractor or their employee is injured while working on a project.”
The mission of the Office of Consumer Protection is to protect Rockland County consumers by providing a safe and fair marketplace through oversight, enforcement and the licensing of professionals.