When the important decision to either start remodeling a home or build an entirely new home is made, it's extremely important for all parties -- including the homeowner and the prospective builder -- to have a complete understanding of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
In keeping with this idea, today's post, part of an ongoing series, will take a brief look at some of the basics of Florida law as it relates to the remodeling/building of residential homes.
Homeowners and the selection of a contractor
State law provides that every contractor whose services are retained to either remodel or build a home must be properly licensed. In general, this requirement can be satisfied if the contractor falls into either one of the following categories:
- Certified contractor: A certified contractor is licensed by the state, and free to work in any city or county in Florida.
- Registered contractor: A registered contractor is licensed by a specific city or county such that they are only permitted to operate there.
It should be noted, however, that all properly licensed contractors -- both certified and registered alike -- are overseen by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
Homeowners considered retaining the services of a particular contractor can use this agency's website to verify that the contractor's status is indeed active and that the work they are being hired to perform falls within the scope of their license.
To illustrate, a homeowner seeking to build at least two floors can verify that the contractor has a "general" license such that they are indeed authorized to perform this type of work.
From a homebuilder's perspective, verifying that a contractor is licensed ensures that certain legal remedies can be pursued in the event of a construction dispute, while from a contractor's perspective, securing the necessary licensure ensures that they too can pursue certain legal remedies and also avoid potential criminal consequences.
Source: The Florida Bar, "Building a home," July 2014