House Bill 735, The Pre-emption of Local Occupational Licensing, eliminates local government licensing for construction trades. As a result, the City will no longer renew or accept new applications for city licensure. Effective July 1, 2023, contractors will have to be licensed with the state to apply for certain permit types. Certain trades do not require a state license to apply for a permit. Please reference the table below to determine how this change affects your trade and licensing requirements.
Contractors must still register with the City of Cape Coral to be able to apply for a permit for any trade and must utilize the EnerGov Customer Self-Service (CSS) portal to apply for all permits.
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An unlicensed contractor, as defined herein, does not have the proper licensure from the State of Florida to engage in the type of work being performed.
In Florida, it is a criminal offense to engage in contracting work or act in a contractor's capacity without a valid contractor’s license. While hiring unlicensed contractors can cost less than hiring licensed contractors, the work produced may be subpar.
Working with an unlicensed contractor is a dangerous practice that can leave you with faulty work that may not be constructed correctly. Worse, you could be setting yourself up for additional costs that go far beyond the savings you initially realized.
Many unlicensed contractors operate without general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This means that if they are injured while on your property, you may be responsible.
The use of an unlicensed contractor may result in the following problems:
- Inability to Receive Inspections: To apply for a building permit, a contractor must have a valid license. Failing to get the required permits will result in jobs being performed without inspections. Such unauthorized construction leaves you with no guarantee that the construction was performed correctly and is safe.
- Failure to Meet Florida Building Code Standards: Unlicensed contractors can’t apply for a building permit; therefore, their construction work cannot be reviewed or inspected. This eliminates the opportunity to ensure that the work meets Florida Building Code (FBC) requirements. Failure to meet FBC requirements may result in unsafe and hazardous conditions.
- Substandard Workmanship: Unlicensed contractors do not go through the process of getting a license and do not know the required construction standards, which licensed contractors understand. This leads to substandard workmanship. The review of construction plans and inspections by building departments provides that work has been performed correctly and meets the standards of the Florida Building Code.
- Further Cost to You: The work of unlicensed contractors is often substandard and ultimately leads to costly repairs and corrections that require the services of a licensed contractor. You may pay more money for the job than if you had initially hired a licensed contractor.
- Fraud and Exploitation: The continued hiring of unlicensed contractors encourages unlicensed contractors to be involved in illicit construction practices. These contractors often take money for jobs that are never started, incomplete, or poorly constructed. Ultimately, you incur the additional expense for such activities.
- Consumer Liability: You are responsible for the hiring of a contractor. Consequently, you are responsible for any damages and injuries incurred on the job site since unlicensed contractors often do not have general liability and workers’ compensation insurance.
- Legal Action Against the Consumer: Since you are held responsible for hiring an unlicensed contractor, you run the risk of being involved in legal action. This legal action may include lawsuits from various parties due to the unauthorized construction work, thus incurring further costs.
- Code Enforcement Fines: Hiring an unlicensed contractor violates Florida Building Code requirements. This may subject you to fines and the possibility of facing a quasi-judicial hearing in front of a Hearing Officer.
Before hiring a contractor or signing any contracts, verify that they are Licensed and Insured.
Resources to verify if a business or contractor is registered or licensed:
All businesses located within the city limits or businesses located outside of Cape Coral that will be applying for permits will have a business license issued by Cape Coral. This does not ensure they are licensed or insured.
-->Search public records to verify the status of a contractor at https://energovweb.capecoral.gov/EnerGovProd/SelfService#/home
The State of Florida will issue licenses for all contractors required to have a license.
-->For State of Florida Licensee Search, Filing a Complaint, or Unlicensed Activity, visit http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/
To report an Unlicensed Contractor performing work within the City of Cape Coral, call 239-242-3783 or email Cape Coral Code Compliance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The following activities by unlicensed contractors shall constitute a violation of this chapter:
Florida Statute 489 - Construction Contracting https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2022/Chapter489/PART_I
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