Passed in 2021, Fla. Stat. 163.211 eliminates local government’s ability to regulate and license specialty contractors (such as painters, flooring, landscapers, pavers and others whose work does not involve life safety implications.) Generally, the new licensing scheme eliminates the requriements for contractor’s to seek licensure from their local governments, and potentially eliminates the need for licensure all together to the extent the scope of work being performed does not conflict with the trades and contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o), or if the job scope of one of the certified specialty contractor categories established by board rule.
163.211 Licensing of occupations preempted to state.—
(2) PREEMPTION OF OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING TO THE STATE.—The licensing of occupations is expressly preempted to the state, and this section supersedes any local government licensing requirement of occupations with the exception of the following:
(a) Any local government that imposed licenses on occupations before January 1, 2021. However, any such local government licensing of occupations expires on July 1, 2023.
(b) Any local government licensing of occupations authorized by general law.
489.117 Registration; specialty contractors.—
(4)(a) A person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to either the job scope of one of the contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o), or the job scope of one of the certified specialty contractor categories established by board rule, is not required to register with the board. A local government, as defined in s. 163.211, may not require a person to obtain a license for a job scope which does not substantially correspond to the job scope of one of the contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o) and (q) or authorized in s. 489.1455(1). For purposes of this section, job scopes for which a local government may not require a license include, but are not limited to, painting; flooring; cabinetry; interior remodeling; driveway or tennis court installation; handyman services; decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation; plastering; stuccoing; caulking; and canvas awning and ornamental iron installation.
The effects of this new statutory scheme seems to have 2 major implications, as to giveth and taketh away –
- The “Giveth”- if the job scope of the tradesman is NOT one of the contractor categories defined in s. 489.105(3)(a)-(o), or the job scope of one of the certified specialty contractor categories established by board rule, the tradesman is not required to register with the DPBR, and neither a State or Local License is required.
- The “Taketh” Away – Local licenses are no longer available to contractors who chose to obtain licensure locally, as opposed through through the State (DPBR). To the extent that obtaining a local license was easier – this method of licensure is no longer available. While this is bad news for the individual contractor licensed locally, who now needs to obtain State Licensure to perform work, it does unify the standards and oversight of contractor’s statewide. Simply put, the State has now preempted localities, and the local governments are no longer an alternative licensing entity.