Unlicensed Contracting: No License – No Contract
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.
Who Needs a License to Work?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.
You Need a Valid License to Enforce a ContractIn 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.