The Division of Professional and Business Responsibility (DBPR) is the Florida agency responsible for regulating many licensed professionals through its multiple divisions including contractors, real estate professionals, architects, engineers, and much more.
A member of the public can submit a Uniform Complaint form, or the Department may initiate a investigation. If the Department believes that reasonable cause exists that a violation occurred, generally they will inform the licensed professional and request a written response.
A written response to a Uniform Complaint is not required by any law or administrative code, but is highly encouraged. You have 20 days from receipt (notification) of the Uniform Complaint to file a response. This 20 day deadline is incorporated into statute (Fla. Stat. 455.225, which indicates that the subject “may” submit a written response.). However, investigators have accepted late responses, and have provided courtesy extensions to the deadline to response. Nonetheless, IF YOU RECEIVE A COMPLAINT, YOU SHOULD RESPOND TIMELY AND NOT EXPECT TO RECEIVE AN EXTENSION.
The Complaint and supporting documents received by the DPBR, and your response will be forwarded to the PROBABLE CAUSE PANEL. The Probable Cause Panel is composed of members of the particular board (Construction Industry Licensing Board, Division of Real Estate, etc.), and will determine based on the Complaint, the investigation materials, and your submitted response, whether the Department should file a formal administrative complaint against you the licensee.
Whether you respond and your response to an administrative complaint are important decisions, and your should consult with an attorney to discuss your response. A properly crafted response could shorten the administrative complaint process by detailing “both sides of the story” or otherwise indicating where the complaint materials are incorrect, inaccurate, or otherwise inapplicable. Also your response could demonstrate efforts you took to resolve this issue, and other reasonable acts you engaged in as the licensed professional.
Notably, while the DPBR is an administrative agency and the Uniform Complaint is from an administrative agency, it should not be confused with an ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT. The Administrative Complaint is the formal complaint filed by an agency (here the DPBR) after a finding of probable cause. A response to an ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT is required, and is subject to STRICT timing requirements.
Andrew Douglas, P.A. represents licensed professionals that received complaints against their licensee.