Hurricane Ian made direct landfall in Southwest Florida, destroying thousands of homes and buildings. The destruction will now require the mobilization of hundreds of contractors in the construction industry. Unfortunately, a tragedy like Hurricane Ian will also attract a number of unlicensed contractors who will try and take advantage of desperate victims trying to rebuild their homes and businesses.
As Southwest Florida starts the rebuilding phase, here are a few things residents should be aware of:
Before you hire a contractor, ask to see their state-issued license
Whether you need roof repairs or mold-related services, you want to ensure the person you hire is licensed and insured. The definition of “contractor” under Section 489.105, Florida Statutes, requires that any person who seeks to
construct, repair, alter, remodel, add to, demolish, subtract from, or improve any building or structure” must have a license.
Allowing an unlicensed contractor to perform work on your property puts you at risk of liability and could cost you more in the end. Generally, unlicensed contractors do not have workers’ compensation and liability insurance. As a result, the property owner may be liable for any injuries that occur on site.
You may check your contractor’s license by going to www.myfloridalicense.com.
Unlicensed contracting is a felony
In Florida, unlicensed contracting is generally charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months of probation, and a $1,000.00 fine.
However, as a result of Ian, Governor Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency on September 23, 2022. Per Florida Statute 489.127(2)(c):
Any unlicensed person who commits a violation of subsection (1) during the existence of a State of Emergency declared by executive order of the Governor commits a felony of the third degree.”
This is in addition to the regular penalties incurred by unlicensed individuals acting in the capacity of a contractor.
To report any suspected unlicensed activity, email ULA@MyFloridaLicense.com or call the unlicensed activity hotline at 1(866) 532-1440.
Emergency Order 2022-03
In response to the disaster left in the wake of Hurricane Ian, an Emergency Order was issued suspending some of Florida’s contractor licensing requirements.
Roofing work no longer will need to be subcontracted out
Registered general, building, or residential contractors will no longer be required to subcontract roofing work as required under Fla.Stat. §489.113(3) in any of the counties listed below.
Registered contractors are not subject to geographical scope limitations
Typically, a registered contractor can only work in the particular county, municipality, or development district where they are registered under Fla.Stat. §489.117. However, while this order is in effect, registered contractors may perform work in any of the counties listed below.
Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Desoto, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, Union, and Volusia.
This order is effective to all projects for which building permits where applied for or obtained between September 23 and November 22, 2022, when the order expires.
* Note: The order does not allow out-of-state contractors without a Florida license to contract for work in Florida.
If you should have any questions or concerns regarding unlicensed contractors, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone, 239-344-1100.