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Can you be arrested for contracting without a license? - II

Last week, our blog began discussing how home improvement projects are always underway at any given time in any given neighborhood here in Orlando. We also discussed how those undertaking relatively complex or labor-intensive projects may want to proceed with caution, as they could be performing work that requires a contractor's license.   

Indeed, we started exploring how Florida defines a contractor and how the crime of unlicensed contracting encompasses a rather broad range of activity.

What types of home improvement projects require a contractor's license?

In general, anyone hired to perform one of the following types of home improvement projects must be duly certified or registered:

  • Construction of a roof
  • Installation of a central A/C unit, dishwasher or hot water heater
  • Replacement or repair of a swimming pool pump
  • Remodeling projects necessitating replacement or alteration of a load-bearing wall
  • Cleaning of heat and central air ductwork requiring partial disassembly

Please note, that this list is by no means all-inclusive.

What types of home improvement projects do not require a contractor's license?

In general, anyone hired to perform one of the following types of home improvement projects must not be either duly certified or registered:

  • Installation of pavers, tile walkways, driveways and awnings
  • Installation of tile floors, cabinets, insulation and woodwork
  • Cleaning of swimming pools and setting up of above-ground pools
  • Cleaning of heat and central air ductwork requiring no disassembly
  • Construction of prefabricated tool sheds measuring less than 250 square feet

Once again, this list is by no means all-inclusive.

What are the possible penalties for a conviction on charges of unlicensed contracting?

First-offense unlicensed contracting is charged as a first degree misdemeanor, meaning you face up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000 if convicted.

The penalties increase dramatically if you are accused of unlicensed contracting and have a previous conviction on your record, or contract without a license during a state of emergency declared via executive order. Here, you will be charged with a third degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Remember to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible if you've been charged with any type of theft or fraud as the stakes are incredibly high

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