Florida law requires that individuals who work as contractors obtain a state contractor’s license to perform most construction work. The law defines a contractor as anyone who builds, improves on, tears down, or subtracts from any building or structure for compensation. This covers actual construction, as well as structural alterations and plumbing, electrical, or air conditioning work.
Performing construction work without a valid state license, called unlicensed contracting, is a serious offense in Florida. Most unlicensed contracting offenses are punished as misdemeanors, with penalties up to one year in prison or $1,000 fine. Certain unlicensed contracting offenses (such as second time offenses) can be charged as felonies.
NEED A VALID LICENSE TO ENFORCE CONTRACT
In addition, unlicensed contractors cannot enforce construction contracts. Florida’s Supreme Court recently affirmed its tough stance on unlicensed contracting, holding that an unlicensed subcontractor cannot enforce a contract claim against a general contractor, even where the general contractor knows that the subcontractor lacks a valid license. This means that customers and other contractors may not be required to pay unlicensed contractors for work performed under the contract.
Knowledge is king in every undertaking and it is no different when it comes to Florida Lien Law. Keeping up to date with legislative changes, critical court decisions, and current construction lien law is something construction executives and design professionals must do regularly to remain effective managers as they work hard to turn concepts into drawings and blueprints into well-built projects. Where it now has become common to believe that any discovered deficiency must be the result of someone else’s acts or omissions, the idea of avoiding potential risks is today more important than ever.
Published by the construction lawyers at The Barthet Firm in Miami, TheLienZone.com is a collection of Florida Lien Law alerts and articles, many reprinted from their initial publication in industry journals. It provides information helpful to contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, architects, engineers and anyone else dealing with a mechanics lien issue, construction contracts, or construction bonds, especially in South Florida.
Managing job site discrepancies and those unavoidable change orders while correctly interpreting construction contract terms can provide an edge – something much appreciated in this always competitive business. This is but one step in that process. Read on.