Definition of Unlicensed Contracting
Under Florida law, the offense of “Contracting Without a License” can encompass a broad range of conduct related to the construction and home improvement industries. Section 489.127 Florida Statutes, provide as follows:
- No person shall:
- Falsely hold himself or herself or business organization out as a licensee, certificate holder, or registrant;
- Falsely impersonate a certificate holder or registrant;
- Present as his or her own the certificate or registration of another;
- Knowing give false or forged evidence to the board or a member thereof;
- Use or attempt to use a certificate or registration that has been suspended or revoked;
- Engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor or advertise himself or herself or a business organization as available to engage in the business or act in the capacity of a contractor without being duly registered or certified;
- Operate a business organization engaged in contracting after 60 days following the termination of its only qualifying agent without designating another primary qualifying agent, except as provided in SS.489.119 and 489.1195;
- Commence or perform work for which a building a permit is required pursuant to part IV of chapter 553 without such building permit being in effect; or
- Willfully or deliberately disregard or violate any municipal or county ordinance relating to uncertified or unregistered contractors.
There are nine different was to commit a crime of unlicensed contracting in Florida. Proof of any one violation is sufficient to sustain a conviction.
For purposes of the Florida statute, the term “Certificate’ means a certificate of competency issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. “Registration” means registration with the department in accordance with Chapter 489, Florida Statutes.
The term “Contracting” means that the accused engaged n the business of a “contractor”, as defined in Section 489.05, Florida Statutes. The statue defines “contractor” as a person who is responsible for a qualifying construction project and the person who, for compensation, undertakes to, submits a bid to, or does himself or herself or by others construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure, including related improvements to real estate, for others or for resale to others.
Penalties for Unlicensed Contracting
In Florida, unlicensed contracting is generally charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1,000 fine.
However, if the accused has been previously convicted of contracting without a license, the offense may be charged as third-degree felony, with penalties of up t 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine. A third felony may also charge where a person contracts without a license during a State of Emergency, as declared by executive order.
Aside from potential fines and jail sentences, a person convicted of or who pleads to a charge of Contracting Without a License will often be subject to court-ordered restitution. This occurs where the alleged victim claims that the defendant performed sub-standard or used sub-standard materials and caused a loss.
If a sufficient causal connection between the defendant’s work and the alleged loss, the defendant will likely be ordered to compensate the alleged victim through a restitution award. In many cases, restitutions awards can be tens of thousands of dollars. A failure to pay the restitutions or to pay it in a timely manner could result in the defendant being held in contempt of court.
Do I have to pay an unlicensed contractor in Florida?
Unlicensed contractors generally do not offer a contract, nor do they have lien rights. Their services are usually less expensive than those of a licensed contractor. Legally, you are not obligated to pay an unlicensed contractor.
Can you sue an unlicensed contractor in Florida?
Unlicensed contractors can be liable for punitive damages, criminal penalties, and even the homeowner’s attorney fees for being an unlicensed contractor. In Florida, you can file a lawsuit against your unlicensed contractor for breach of contract or even construction defect.
Can a homeowner do electrical work in Florida?
State law requires electrical contracting to be done by licensed electrical contractors. You have applied for a permit under an exemption to that law. The exemption allows you, as the owner of your property, to act as your own electrical contractor even though you do not have a license.
How do I report an unlicensed contracted in Florida?
Contractors are licensed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). To file a complaint for suspected unlicensed activity or other inappropriate actions by a contractor, contact DBPR : (850) 487-1395. www.myfloridalicense.com
What electrical work requires a permit in Florida?
As we said before: the Florida Building Code (FBC) requires that a building permit be obtained for all electrical work, including new installation, repairs, and upgrades. In addition, any electrical work done in Florida must be licensed, inspected, and approved by a certified professional March 16, 2023.
Who is required to have a contractor’s license in Florida?
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) issues general contractor licenses in Florida. Plumbers, electricians, painters, and HVAC contractors should have a general contractor license. The work you perform is likely to meet the criteria for this type of licensing. April 14,2022.
What is the prompt pay law in Florida?
State of Florida Prompt Pay Policy
(The State of Florida is required to pay all properly completed and corrected addressed invoices within 40 days of receipt of invoice for goods or services received).
Can handyman change a light fixture in Florida? To do the replacement of electrical outlets, switches, and light fixtures, you will need to obtain a lighting maintenance contractor license. We offer the books and classes to better prep you for both exams. To replace faucets, sink drain pipes, and toilets you will need a Plumbing Contractors License. June 17,2020.
What is considered low voltage in construction?
At its core, low voltage wiring refers to the electrical wiring that’s opposite the current of the power outlets, fixtures, and switches. When something is considered low voltage, it’s 50 volts or less. Dec 16,2022.