Do I need a contractor or can I obtain an owner/builder permit?

Florida Statute 489.103 requires building permits to be issued to licensed contractors. As an owner of your property, you may act as your own contractor through a specific exemption to contracting law. Owner’s applying for their own permit must fill out an Owner/Builder Disclosure Statement as required by Florida law. There are restrictions and responsibilities the owner assumes when acting as their own contractor. The following are a few highlights of these restrictions and responsibilities:

  • An owner may build or improve a one or two family dwelling. An owner may also build or improve a commercial building if the cost does not exceed $75,000. The building or residence must be for the sole use or occupancy of the owner. It may not be built or substantially improved for sale or lease. If a building or residence has been built or substantially improved is sold or leased within 1 year of when the construction is completed, the law will presume that it was built or substantially improved for sale or lease which violates this exemption to contracting law. In this instance the laws and rules for unlicensed contractor activity would apply.
  • An owner must provide their own on site supervision and you are responsible for the permit and all required inspections under the Florida Building Code. This authority cannot be delegated to anyone who is not a licensed contractor.
  • An owner may not hire anyone who is not a licensed contractor. If an owner does hire someone who is not licensed they must work under the direct supervision of the owner and must be employed by the owner, which means the owner must withhold federal income tax and social security contributions under Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) and provide worker’s compensation for the employee. Anyone injured on the owner’s property that is not a licensed contractor will not likely be covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy adding serious financial risk to the owner for any injuries.
  • Violations under this exemption to the contracting law is a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by a term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and/or a $1,000 fine in addition to any civil penalties.

Show All Answers

1. When do I need a building permit?
2. Do I need a contractor or can I obtain an owner/builder permit?
3. What do I need to look for when hiring a contractor?