If you have ever worked in the construction industry in Florida, you have likely heard of the scenario where one individual utilizes the construction license of another. There are many different arrangements, but a common practice is for a licensed individual or company to file for and obtain a permit for an unlicensed but seemingly qualified individual or company to perform the work.
For example, after many years of performing electrical work for another company an individual decides to start his own company. When he first starts out, he does not yet have his electrician’s license even though he likely has the appropriate knowledge and experience to perform electrical work. When he is hired for his first job, he is unable to pull a permit because he does not yet have his license.
Fortunately, he still has a good relationship with his former boss and license-holder. So, he convinces his former boss to pull the permit for him for a small fee. He intends to run the job from start to finish so all he needs is for his former boss to pull the permit.
No harm no foul, right? As long as permits are properly filed by a license-holder and the work is performed to code everything should be fine, shouldn’t it? NO. Such a practice is patently illegal under Florida law and can carry hefty penalties.
This practice has been termed by many to be “renting out” a contractor’s license and is strictly prohibited under § 489.127, Florida Statutes. It is important to note that § 489.127, Florida Statutes, is broad enough to cover any arrangement wherein a license-holder is assisting an unlicensed individual in committing unlicensed construction. Thus, a party must be extremely cautious in attempting to “use the license” of another.
Any contractor who participates in aiding another in committing unlicensed construction can face civil and criminal penalties including the loss of his own license. Additionally, any contract for construction work entered into by an unlicensed individual or entity is unenforceable by the unlicensed individual under § 489.128, Florida Statutes.
Despite the seemingly dubious warning of this blog, it is important to note that there are several different legal arrangements where a new company or unlicensed individual is able to appropriately partner with or hire a licensed individual to supervise the construction work for his new company. Boatman Ricci is experienced in helping new companies navigate the intricacies of Florida’s construction licensing regulations. Our attorneys are also experienced in helping victims of the unlicensed practice of construction defend against wrongful claims by unlicensed individuals. If you need assistance in either area please contact Boatman Ricci at (239) 330-1494.
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