Palm Harbor apartment management fined for hiring unlicensed contractor for repair work

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Pinellas County put the brakes on dangerous repair work being done at a Palm Harbor apartment complex.

The residents of Lake Tarpon Apartments want answers after learning the contractor hired to do the job wasn’t licensed and the property owner didn’t have a valid permit.

Workers hired to replace staircase handrails and the second story guardrails at the two-building, 40-unit complex were busted by the county, forced to stop halfway through the job due to safety concerns.

A building inspector issued a stop work order last Monday.

“It wasn’t done right,” said resident Charles Perrupato. “It looks like it’s patched, and they broke concrete putting it in on the steps, and they actually made it worse than what it was.”

The railings aren’t level and some sections are loose and wobbly, with sloppy welding work. Both the contractor and the property management company were fined for the unlicensed work. The owner received a violation for not having a valid permit to replace the railings.

Meanwhile, residents said they haven’t been given any information and the shoddy work is a safety issue.

“It’s dangerous, it can hurt someone,” said resident Edna Rainey. “These are elderly people who live here... I’d like to see them come here and fix that the right way.”

The property management company has not responded to requests for comment.

The owner of the complex was given 10 days to get a permit and hire a licensed contractor to finish the railing replacement. If that doesn’t happen, County officials say the owner will get a second violation, and could eventually face more fines and have to go to court.