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How to Verify a Professional's License in Houston?

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) regulates a wide range of occupations, professions, and businesses in Houston through 39 programs. Professionals in Houston are also required to register their valid state-issued license with the city's Permitting Center before they can legally offer their services to interested parties. You can utilize the TDLR's Active License Data Search portal to verify state-issued professional licenses. You can also confirm that a professional has been locally registered by contacting the Houston Permitting Center at (832) 394-9000.

In addition to confirming whether the professional you're hiring is duly licensed and registered, you should also ensure that the necessary permits for your project are obtained. Permitting of construction projects for all neighborhoods and communities in the City of Houston is handled by the Houston Permitting Center and it is advisable that you always contact this center to inquire about permits required for the job before commencing any construction project.

Do Houston Neighborhood Councils
Issue Permits?

Houston is divided into 88 Super Neighborhoods and each neighborhood has a council where residents and stakeholders deliberate on various issues that encompass priority projects for the area and develop action plans for the community's development. However, these super neighborhood councils do not have the power to issue any permits for construction-related operations in the city. Nonetheless, they provide recommendations to the city government on a wide range of issues, including building and construction. For example, in 2018, the Midtown Super Neighborhood Council suggested a market-based parking system to allow developers to decide how much parking to provide at their location, as opposed to the current requirements based on the square footage of the development. Similarly, the Gulfton super neighborhood has partnered with the city and other organizations to re-design and improve Hillcroft Avenue to ensure safety and accessibility of the road for people of all ages and abilities. Construction on this project commenced in February 2021. To locate any of the super neighborhoods in the city, you can make use of the Houston Map Viewer.

How Do You File an Unfair Business
Complaint in Houston?

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) protects Houston residents from unfair practices occasioned by unscrupulous businesses and professionals. You can file complaints against professionals and businesses that violate this act by contacting the Houston 311 Help & Information Section either online or by calling (713) 837-0311. Complaints can also be filed with the Office of the Harris County Attorney either by texting the consumer helpline at (346) 354-7459 or via email. If the complaints relate to pricing gouging during emergency periods, then you should complete the online Price Gouging Complaint Form. Likewise, complaints that include allegations of crimes should be reported to the Houston Police Department.

Note that the focus of these agencies is usually to institute actions on behalf of the public and ensure that unscrupulous entities are punished. As a result, the agencies might not be helpful if you aim to get compensation for the losses occasioned by the professional's action. Therefore, it is always a good idea to also consult with a competent lawyer on the possibility of instituting a civil action for compensation under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). Such an action would usually be brought before the Harris County Justice of the Peace Court, which has jurisdiction over small claims matters that do not exceed $20,000.