Avoiding Unlicensed Contracting Penalties
As Clearwater construction lawyers we’re aware that unlicensed construction activity is a major problem in Florida. What does this mean for the construction industry? An increased risk of investigation—a hassle you want to avoid. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation has seen an increase in complaints, and with those complaints come penalties.
The Florida Statutes Chapter 489 regulates Florida’s construction industry contracting. By law, anyone performing construction work must have a license. It is against the law to falsify a license, registration or certification. Other prohibitions include attempting to use suspended or revoked credentials and disobeying county ordinances. A detailed list of prohibitions is can be found in the statute. The construction industry licensing board works diligently to catch offenders. Make sure you are in compliance.
Evaluating a Contractor
Investigate before hiring a contractor. Some of the ways you can do this is by checking for a license, get the contract in writing, and by requesting references. Complaints can be filed by email, phone, or through the “DBPR Mobile” app.
Warnings and Penalties
Before prosecution, comes warnings. Thousands of complaints of unlicensed activity is reported yearly. Unlicensed contractors are caught through outreaches, stings, and sweeps. The department will issue Cease to Desist Notices, Citations, and Final Orders.
If you’re found guilty, the following penalties may apply.
- Permanent criminal record: first-degree misdemeanor or third-degree felony charge
- Inability to obtain a license in the future
- Fines and administrative costs
- License suspension or revocation
- Contracts are unenforceable
- Losing construction lien rights
Contesting a Charge
The best way to avoid an unlicensed charge is to be sure your license, registration, and certifications are current. However, if you find yourself facing a charge for unlicensed activity, you may have recourse. Your best line of defense is to contact is an experienced Clearwater construction attorney.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.