Building Permit Information for Homeowners

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Hiring a Licensed Contractor

Florida law requires contractors to be licensed. Hiring an unlicensed contractor is a violation of Florida Statute 455.228 and is subject to a fine of up to $5,000.

Unlicensed contractors can often underbid licensed professionals because they typically are not bonded or insured and do not pay into the residential contractors' recovery fund or pay any unemployment compensation for their workers.

Hiring a licensed contractor offers many additional protections to the property owner, especially regarding residential property.

A contractor cannot obtain a license without possessing a minimum amount of experience and must pass a business management test. The contractor may also be subject to a criminal history background check and must not have any outstanding unresolved contracting complaints.

What to do when hiring a contractor:

  • Ask for their license number and a list of references
  • Verify the license number to ensure their license is active and their insurance is up to date
  • Contact references to ask them if they were satisfied with the contractor

File a Complaint

Code Enforcement
(941) 748-2071
code.enforcement@mymanatee.org

Report an Unlicensed Contractor: (941) 749-3084

Acting as Your Own Contractor

State law requires construction to be done by a licensed contractor. However, owners may apply for an owner-builder permit under an exemption from the law. The exemption specifies that, as the owner of the property, you may act as you own contractor with certain restrictions even though you do not have a license.

View more information on the Regulation of Professions and Occupations Contracting’s Florida Statutes Title XXXII Chapter 489.103.