2023 Marks End Of Contractor Licensing By Local Governments In Florida
There are often new laws that go into effect at the start of the year, but one implication that affects Florida contractors in 2023 actually dates back to legislation enacted in 2021. The Florida statute on registration of contractors was amended to address the activities of local governments, such as counties and municipalities, as they pertain to licensing. For most licenses required in industries across the board, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has authority. However, some local governments have imposed registration, certification, or other credentials for Florida contractors.
Under the 2021 amendments, this practice is being phased out through the first half of 2023. You may have already experienced some confusion about your contractor’s license issued by DBPR and how it works with local government requirements. This chaos is part of the reason for making the change. It is important to discuss your specific situation with a Florida construction law attorney to ensure you remain in good standing with all legal requirements. An overview of the basics is also helpful.
Key Changes to Existing Law: Before enactment of the amendments, local governments were able to issue licenses or require contractors to register when taking on certain types of construction projects. In many cases, the requirements were not even mandated by DBPR. Some counties and municipalities have mandated that a contractor get special credentials to paint or put up a fence.
The new law bars local governments from requiring a person to obtain a license for a job or task that does NOT correspond to the activities of a contractor. Based upon the job scope descriptions in DBPR regulations, this means local governments cannot require a separate license for:
- Installing flooring;
- Constructing cabinetry;
- Doing interior remodeling;
- Offering handyman services;
- Installation of decorative stone, tile, marble, or granite; and,
- Many other construction activities.
Additional Points to Note About Contractor Licensing: All licensing in the above areas and many others is to be handled by DBPR, so there will still be requirements for contractors at the state level. In addition:
- Any licenses issued by local governments will be phased out through July 2023.
- Counties and municipalities can still issue journeyman licenses for plumbing, pipefitting, and HVAC trades.
- In Florida, it is unlawful to provide contractor and construction services without the proper license. You could be charged with a First Degree Misdemeanor for violating the law. If convicted, you face up to a year in jail, probation, and a fine up to $1,000.
- With the elimination of local contractor’s license, you must comply with DBPR regulations for licensing. The process is streamlined, but there can still be confusion during the phase out period.
Get Legal Help from a Palm Beach County Construction Law Attorney
Construction laws are constantly changing, so it is wise to work with an experienced lawyer for updates on an important topic like licensing. 28