DBPR sweeps through town and nets contracting violators

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By Ada Lang

Acting on a tip about alleged unlicensed contracting, investigators from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation came to Cedar Key recently. When their work is completed, some violators could face criminal charges.

According to James Patton, Regional Program Administrator for DBPR, on Friday, Sept. 2, investigators from the Gainesville branch office visited several construction job sites where unlicensed contracting was suspected. 

They have interviewed alleged offenders and property owners and are now sorting through the facts and determining who, if anyone, may be charged with up to a third degree felony, hefty fines and possible jail time.

Unlicensed contracting is when a person acts as a licensed general contractor, however does not hold the proper license and insurance. An occupational license to do “handyman” work is not the same as a license to be a general contractor and car insurance does not count as workman’s compensation insurance. 

Licensed general contractors are required to list their license numbers on any advertising and those numbers can be used to confirm the validity of their license at: MyFloridaLicense.com.

The state of Florida regulates construction activity to protect the public. While property owners may legally “pull the permit” for construction at their own home, they must supervise the work, however, in one local case, the owner was out of state.

It has only been two months since their last visit to Cedar Key but Patton added that despite their limited staff, “Give us a tip and we will respond within 24 hours."

(Note: Several local licensed general contractors contacted but had no comments for this article)