How to Verify a Professional's License in Virginia Beach?
All professionals working within the city limits of Virginia Beach must have a professional license that meets city requirements for minimum competency. These licenses are issued by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, and this agency offers 48 occupational license types to eligible professionals in the City of Virginia Beach through its various boards. Before hiring any professional in Virginia Beach, you must carry out due diligence to ensure such professionals have met all licensing requirements per the relevant board's regulations. For instance, contractors are statutorily required to obtain either a Class A, B, or C license to practice in Virginia Beach. You can verify the validity of a professional's license via the License Lookup provided by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
Once you confirm the validity of a professional's license, you may also need to fulfill other city regulatory requirements. This usually includes obtaining all necessary permits for your project before the commencement of any work. For instance, the Virginia Beach Department of Planning and Community Development issues permits for construction and home improvement-related projects that take place in the city through its Permits and Inspections Office and failing to obtain these permits typically attracts a penalty. You can contact the Permits and Inspections Office at (757) 385-4211 or via email to make inquiries regarding Virginia Beach permit requirements. You can also contact your neighborhood association for additional regulatory requirements applicable to your locality.
There are 167 Neighborhood Associations in the City of Virginia Beach, and they include civic leagues, condo associations, and several other types of organizations. Members of these neighborhood associations represent their respective neighborhoods' interests by voicing concerns, discussing matters, and taking relevant actions that help make a difference. You can find information and connect with a neighborhood association close to you by utilizing the city's Neighborhood Association List. Virginia Beach neighborhood associations do not issue home improvement or construction work permits, however, they foster activities that improve the general quality of life within the neighborhood. For instance, in May 2021, several members of the Croatan Civic League pledged their support to the rebuilding of the Pedestrian Bridge Connecting Coastal and Fort Raleigh Drives. Similarly, the Larkspur Civic League Board of Trustees worked on fostering a decision between its residents, the board, and the Virginia Beach Utilities Traffic Division on the feasibility of a sidewalk on Edwin Drive for property owners.
The City of Virginia Beach affords its residents protection against unfair business practices and actions of registered professionals, and if you fall victim to these practices, you can file a complaint by contacting the Virginia Beach Office of the Commonwealth Attorney at (757) 385-4401 or via email. If your complaint against the professional involves possible criminal misconduct or offenses, you should also contact the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office or the nearest Virginia Beach Police Department precincts.
The mode of reviewing reports depends on the nature of the complaint, and these agencies typically adopt methods like investigation, disciplinary panels, or alternative dispute resolution. However, you should note that these agencies cannot guarantee personal remedies. Therefore, if the basis for filing your complaint is to recover funds paid to a professional, you may need to file a civil action in an appropriate Virginia Beach Court. While Virginia Beach District Courts generally have jurisdiction over civil matters that involve up to $25,000, you can also file your matter in a Small Claims Court if the amount involved does not exceed $5000. Small claims proceedings are typically informal with rules of procedure that can be easily interpreted, therefore you can go pro se and have your court hearing without hiring a lawyer. However, it is always a good idea to get proper legal advice before commencing any court proceedings. You can contact the legal aid section of the Virginia Beach Bar Association for legal advice at (757) 385-2155.