Under Texas Administrative Code 60.22(a), TDLR has the authority to issue and renew licenses, resolve complaints, conduct investigations and inspections, impose sanctions and administrative penalties, and administer exams. This means you will deal with TDLR on a regular basis for as long as you have an HVAC license. In fact, since TDLR also handles complaints, you could have cause to interact with TDLR long after retirement.
Under Texas Occupations Code 1302.002, anyone who performs “the design, installation, construction, repair, maintenance, service, or modification of equipment or a product in an environmental air conditioning system, a commercial refrigeration system, or a process cooling or heating system” must have an ACR contractor license from TDLR. Moreover, each assisting ACR technician, with minor exceptions, must be certified or registered with TDLR.
The application requires you to complete a criminal history questionnaire (CHQ) and TDLR has the authority to deny a license based on the offenses. Unfortunately, Texas Occupations Code 53.021 is keyed to Texas criminal law, making it difficult to determine how an out-of-state conviction will be viewed by TDLR.
TDLR has the authority to grant a provisional license notwithstanding past criminal offenses. However, the standards used by TDLR are discretionary. For example, TDLR can overlook a prior conviction if enough time has elapsed since the offense – but the rules do not identify the amount of time.
Because of the discretion wielded by TDLR, it may be advisable to consult with a TDLR lawyer prior to filing an application so you can present to TDLR your best possible case for licensing.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Legal compliance is how you make sure your ACR contracting company remains within the bounds of the law. Compliance will help you to pass inspections, avoid investigations, and defend yourself against complaints.
A TDLR attorney can advise you on developing compliance procedures. When you are busy running your business, simple tasks can slip through the cracks. Compliance prevents you from missing tasks that can have major legal consequences.
For example, TDLR requires you to keep four years of job records. You are required to notify TDLR whenever a license holder joins or leaves your ACR contracting company. TDLR even has rules specifying the information that must appear on invoices, advertisements, job signs, and work trucks. Speaking with a TDLR attorney can help you comply with all these regulations.
No ACR contractor wants to face action from TDLR. However, if you do, you should consider having a TDLR lawyer representing you.
Contested actions can arise from rejected license applications, initiation of a disciplinary proceeding, or imposition of an administrative penalty. Under Texas Government Code 2001.051, a contested action may feel like a trial. You will be provided notice of the action and given an opportunity to respond with arguments and evidence. After the presentation of evidence at the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), a decision is rendered.
This decision can impose significant sanctions on you and your company. For example, sanctions can include suspension of your license, fines, and, in cases involving practicing without a license, criminal penalties.
Moreover, an adverse finding in a contested action could be used as evidence in a lawsuit against you if the contested action arose from a customer complaint. Consequently, you need to defend yourself rigorously in any contested action. Presentation of evidence and arguments are squarely within the skill set of a lawyer, you may want to hire a TDLR lawyer to advocate for you.
Contact us today at FosterDanowsky if you need the legal assistance of a TDLR Lawyer to apply for a new HVAC license, contest an adverse action, or create a compliance program for your ACR business.