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DBPR Unlicensed Activity Awareness Seminar for Contractors A Little About the Department The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) regulates over 1 million professionals and businesses in Florida ranging from:

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dbpr unlicensed activity awareness seminar for contractors

DBPR Unlicensed Activity Awareness Seminar for Contractors

a little about the department
A Little About the Department
  • The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) regulates over 1 million professionals and businesses in Florida ranging from:
    • Hotels and restaurants
    • Alcohol and tobacco retailers
    • Real estate agents and appraisers
    • Certified Public Accountants
    • Construction trades
  • The department regulates 19 professions and related businesses through 15 professional boards, 3 department regulated professions and 1 council.
  • The department is dedicated to protecting the health, safety and welfare of those living in and visiting Florida.
bureau of unlicensed activity michael green administrator
Mission: Identify and eliminate the practice of unlicensed activity through the coordinated efforts of the department’s regional offices, local building departments, other state agencies, law enforcement agencies, and the appropriate State Attorney’s Office.

Objective: Educate the public of the need to hire only licensed individuals when licensure is required and to conduct operations to identify the practice of unlicensed activity. Once these practices are identified, the department will take appropriate steps to effectively eliminate the activity. These steps may include the issuance of a cease and desist order, the issuance of a citation, or an imposition of administrative fines.

Enforcement Activities:

Sweeps -2 per month per office

Stings- 2 per year per office

Disaster Operations

Education Activities:

Public Service Announcements

Partnership with Bob Vila

PSA collection DVD

Unlicensed Activity Web Page

Brochures and other Literature

Public Speaking Engagements

Intergovernmental ties

Bureau of Unlicensed ActivityMichael Green, Administrator
complaints last year 2006 2007
During the FY 2006-2007 the DBPR received:

5,561 Unlicensed activity complaints

3,444 of which were found to be legally sufficient and resulted in further investigation

Disciplinary Action was taken in 1,207 of these cases

Additionally citation were issued in other cases

Complaints last year- 2006-2007
enforcement activities law enforcement
Department has gained leverage in our enforcement efforts by strengthening partnershipswith:

local code enforcement

law enforcement,

state attorneys

Worker’s Compensation Investigators

Multi-Agency Task Forces

Enforcement Activities:Law Enforcement:
proactive sweeps stings consumer outreach
Last year 143 sweeps performed for unlicensed activity statewide

Last year the 63 consumer outreach programs were conducted with over 5,000 Floridians attending

Proactive Sweeps, Stings & Consumer Outreach
ways dbpr is working to fight unlicensed activity
Toll Free Hot-line for consumers and licensees



Unlicensed Investigators who focus on unlicensed activities.

Citation fines for advertising $1,000.

Citation fines for contracting $2,500.00

Fines for Unlicensed Contracting-$5,0000 per violation.

Increase in prosecutions through local State Attorneys.

Ways DBPR is working to fight Unlicensed Activity
medias for outreach
Public Service Announcements (PSAs)

Newspaper articles, editorials, advertisements




Medias for Outreach
beware of construction con artists who may
Target the elderly and uninformed, or the young and inexperienced.

Focus on roofing and remodeling.

Solicit door-to-door, frequently traveling in unmarked vehicles.

Give a post office box address instead of a street address.

Demand that you obtain the necessary building permits.

Ask for all or a large portion of the money up front.

Request that payments be made in cash.

Present a local occupational tax certificate as a “contractor’s license.”

Beware of Construction Con Artists, Who May:
certified vs registered contractors
A Certified contractor is licensed by the state through the DBPR. Certified contractors may work anywhere in the state and must be recognized by all local jurisdictions. Discipline is handled by the department.

A Registered contractor is licensed by a local licensing board, and must register the license with DBPR for the license to be valid. A Registered contractor may work only in the local geographic area that issued the license, or any adjoining jurisdiction that offers reciprocity.

Discipline of registered contractors is handled by the jurisdiction that issued the license.

Certified vs. Registered Contractors
who needs to be licensed
Generally, a state Certified or Registered contractor’s license is required for any structural additions or remodeling, roofing, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical/alarm work, pool/spa work, structural aluminum work, or any job which requires a building permit.

In addition, many local jurisdictions have additional licensure requirements for other specialty contractors, such as pool cleaners, painting, drywall, masonry, tile and concrete work.

You can verify local licensure requirements by contacting your building department.

Who Needs to be Licensed
finding a reputable and reliable contractor
Ask to see the contractor’s registered or certified license. All state-generated licenses include a wallet card. Verify that the license you are shown confirms the person’s identity.

Note the license number and check with the DBPR or your local building department to verify that the license is current and active.

Determine how long the contractor has been in business.

Ask for references of persons for whom the contractor has done work and CHECK THEM OUT.

Finding a Reputable and Reliable Contractor
The state of Florida does not license or regulate those calling themselves a handyman. Therefore a handyman is only permitted to perform minor repairs and cannot legally perform any of the work previously mentioned that requires a license.

When a handyman expands their efforts from minor repairs to structural repairs or other work they are not authorized to do, they are entering the area of unlicensed activity and are subject to prosecution. Unlicensed activity is a misdemeanor for the first offense and becomes a felony upon the second offense.

Be aware that contracts with unlicensed individuals are unenforceable under Florida law. (FS 489.128)

occupational license business tax not a license
2006-2007 CITY OF _________________ BUSINESS TAX CERTIFICATE2006-2007


DBA: Woody’s Wood Work Account Number: 568564


ADDRESS: 21 Main Street Type Code Sub Code: Type Description:

Any Town, FL 1 a Carpenter


The firm, corporation, organization, business or individual whose name

appears hereon has paid a business tax for the business activities

indicated above, subject to city, state and federal laws. This certificate must

be conspicuously displayed at the location of the business activity. A

change of location from the stated business location on this certificate as

well as a change in ownership requires a transfer.

Occupational License(Business Tax) NOT A LICENSE


we need your help
Don’t hire unlicensed subcontractors.

Don’t pull permits for unlicensed persons or companies.

Educate Consumers on dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors.

Report unlicensed Activity to DBPR and Local Code Enforcement Boards.

Encourage Subs to become licensed specialty contractors.

Get to Know your local DBPR Staff.

We Need Your Help
aiding and assisting unlicensed contractors
FS 489.129(1)(d) - Assisting Unlicensed Person to evade provisions of Chapter 489

FS 489.129(1)(e) FS – Combining and conspiring with unlicensed person or entity.

FS 489.129(1)(f) – Failure to qualify a firm, and/or acting in a name not on license.

All of the above- Up to $5,000 and/ or probation, suspension or revocation.

$500 Citation possible in cases with no financial harm.

Public Complaint against license.

FS 455.2277-The Department or the appropriate board shall report any criminal violation of any statute relating to the practice of a profession regulated by the Department or appropriate board to the proper prosecuting authority for prompt prosecution.

Aiding and Assisting Unlicensed Contractors
remind your potential customers
Ask to see the contractor’s registered or certified license. All state-generated licenses include a wallet card. Verify that the license you are shown confirms the person’s identity.

Note the license number and check with the DBPR or your local building department to verify that the license is current and active.

Determine how long the contractor has been in business.

Ask for references of persons for whom the contractor has done work and CHECK THEM OUT.

Remind Your Potential Customers:
owner builder exemption section 489 103 7 fs
If you do not intend to do the work yourself and have been asked by someone without a contractor’s license to pull the permit, you are at risk of financial harm both by penalty and injury.

Section 489.103(7), Florida Statutes states:

Owners must supervise the work being performed.

Any person working on your building who is not licensed must be employed by you, which means that you must deduct F.I.C.A and withholding tax and provide workers’ compensation for that employee.

Work is limited to a one or two family residence, farm outbuilding or commercial property up to $75,000 in total construction costs.

The property cannot be sold for one year after construction is completed.

Not only is it dangerous, but it’s also a crime.

Section 455.227, Florida Statutes: Any person who knowingly aides, assists, procures, employs or advises an unlicensed individual can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor and may face fines of up to $5,000 for each offense.

Owner-Builder ExemptionSection 489.103(7), FS
be sure contracts include
The contractor’s name, address, telephone number and professional license number. ($100 Citation possible)

A detailed description of work to be completed and the quality and type of materials to be supplied, also known as the job specifications.

A complete list of companies or individuals supplying the contractor with labor or materials.

The total cost and a payment schedule tied to the completion of various stages of the project, also know as the draw schedule.

Any financing information that is required by law or that is part of the transaction.

Be Sure Contracts Include:
be sure contracts includes cont d
Any warranty agreements.

A commencement and completion date.

All necessary building permits or fees that will be the responsibility of the contractor. (The person that signs for the permit is responsible for the completion of the construction.)

An agreement regarding site cleanup and debris disposal.

If applicable.-a notice of the consumer’s rights under the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund for contracts involving general, residential and building contractors.

Be Sure Contracts Includes (cont’d)
moneys received by contractors
Section 489.126, Florida Statutes-

A contractor who receives, as initial payment more than 10 percent MUST:

Apply for permits necessary to do work within 30 days after the date payment is made.

Start the work within 90 days after the date all necessary permits are issued

Moneys received by contractors
remind your customers of florida s lien law cont d
To protect themselves:

Request a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who will be providing services or materials to the property from the contractor.

Obtain a Release of Lien, which is a written statement that removes the property from the threat of lien, from subcontractors and suppliers covering the work performed and the materials used.

Before they make the last payment, be sure to obtain an affidavit from the contractor that specifies all unpaid parties and ensure that they receive final releases from these parties.

Remind your customers of Florida’s Lien Law (cont’d)
report unlicensed activity how to file a complaint
Contractors can file an anonymous complaint against unlicensed persons:

call 850.487.1395 or contact



Fax – 850.921.2124

Submit all supporting documentation with your complaint. –advertising speaks for its self.

Report Unlicensed Activity How to File a Complaint
contacting the department
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation provides up-to-the-minute information about all of our licensed professionals online at


To verify a license, please call 850.487.1395.

To report unlicensed activity toll-free, please call 1.866.532.1440.

Mailing address:

1940 North Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Contacting the Department