South Orange: Does the Person Mowing Your Lawn Have a License?


SOUTH ORANGE – Landscapers who are not covered under the state’s Contractor Registration Act must be licensed by the village or face fines and possible jail time.

A first-time license applicant pays a $35 fee. License renewal is $15 a year. Applications are made to the Office of Code Inspection.

The Board of Trustees updated its ordinance governing landscapers to ensure they are covered under either state or village regulations. A landscaper is “any person, partnership, firm, association, corporation or other legal entity” that provides services for a fee. Those services include mowing grass or lawns; trimming or cutting trees, bushes or shrubbery; or removing grass, foliage, leaves or trees from either residential or commercial property.

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The license is good from April 1 through March 31 of the following year.

Landscapers who are not properly licensed could face any of the following punishments for a first offense: jail time not exceeding 90 days, a fine not exceeding $2,000 or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.  

Any subsequent offense carries a minimum fine of $100. A landscaper who violates the village code on two or more occasions may have his or her license revoked. A landscaper who continues to offer services for a fee after the license is revoked can be subject to between 30 and 48 hours in jail.

The change to the landscaping ordinance was approved by trustees at their Feb. 10 meeting.

The reporter is a student participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.

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