Boosted by out-of-state and foreign investors, the construction and home improvement industry in Florida has a massive capital influx year after year. This profitable scenario may also attract contractors willing to break the applicable laws and provide unlicensed services. 

In this article, you will discover the penalty for unlicensed contracting in Florida.  

What is Unlicensed Contracting in Florida?  – As Provided by Law  

Florida Statutes §489.127 (1) expressly state that “no person shall: 

  • Falsely hold himself or herself or a 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 
  • Knowingly 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 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” 

Accordingly, the practice of unlicensed contracting can occur in distinct situations, not necessarily related to each other. When filing with a court in Florida, the plaintiff only needs to prove one of the nine violations occurred. 

What is the Penalty in Florida for Unlicensed Contractor to do a Job? – In Detail 

Generally, unlicensed contracting is charged as a first-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. In such cases, the person charged for performing unlicensed contractor jobs may spend up to one year in jail or a 12-month probation period. Additionally, a court may charge a $1,000 fine.  

Florida law has strict regulations to avoid individuals previously convicted of unlicensed contracting from relapsing. Anyone accused of unlicensed contracting after being previously convicted of the same misdemeanor may be charged with a third-degree felony. 

The penalties include spending up to five years in prison or enduring five years of probation, in addition to a $5,000 fine. Specific statutory provisions also exist to avoid unlicensed contracting during a State of Emergency.  

While jail sentences and potential fines are the primary penalties for unlicensed contracting in Florida, state courts may also order restitution.  

Court-ordered restitution usually takes place when the individual convicted for unlicensed contracting performed sub-standard work or used sub-standard materials that resulted in a loss to the plaintiff.  

Please note that the plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of a causal connection between the unlicensed contractor’s work and the alleged loss. If the plaintiff succeeds, the defendant may have to compensate the victim through a restitution award.  

Unlicensed Contracting Florida – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance 

Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant in a case of unlicensed contracting, it is impossible to take expert legal guidance for granted. Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.