(1) Any person performing an activity requiring licensure under this part as a construction contractor is guilty of unlicensed contracting if he or she does not hold a valid active certificate or registration authorizing him or her to perform such activity, regardless of whether he or she holds a local construction contractor license or local certificate of competency. Persons working outside the geographical scope of their registration are guilty of unlicensed activity for purposes of this part.
(2) For a first offense, any person who holds a state or local construction license and is found guilty of unlicensed contracting under this section shall be issued a notice of noncompliance pursuant to s. 489.131(7). (3) Notwithstanding s. 455.228, the department may impose an administrative fine of up to $10,000 on any unlicensed person guilty of unlicensed contracting. In addition, the department may assess reasonable investigative and legal costs for prosecution of the violation against the unlicensed contractor. The department may waive up to one-half of any fine imposed if the unlicensed contractor complies with certification or registration within 1 year after imposition of the fine under this subsection.
(4)(a) Any fines collected under this section shall be first used to cover the investigative and legal costs of prosecution.
(b) Any local governing body that forwards information relating to any person who is an unlicensed contractor shall collect 30 percent of the fine collected, after deduction of the investigative and legal costs of prosecution.
(c) The balance of any fines collected under this section shall be used to maintain the department’s unlicensed contractor website page, as specified in subsection (6), and to fund the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to permit recovery from the Construction Industries Recovery Fund if the contractor is unlicensed.
(5) A local building department shall not issue a building permit to any contractor, or to any person representing himself or herself as a contractor, who does not hold a valid active certificate or registration in the appropriate category. Possession of a local certificate of competency or local construction license is not sufficient to lawfully obtain a building permit as a construction contractor if the activity in question requires licensure under this part. Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting a local building department from issuing a building permit to a locally licensed or certified contractor for an activity that does not require licensure under this part.
(6) The department shall create a web page, accessible through its Internet website, dedicated solely to listing any known information concerning unlicensed contractors. The information shall be provided in such a way that any person with computer online capabilities can access information concerning unlicensed contractors by name or by county. The department shall recognize that persons found guilty of unlicensed contracting do not have the same rights and privileges as licensees, and the department shall not restrict the quality or quantity of information on the web page required by this subsection, unless otherwise required by law.
(7) The remedies set forth in this section are not exclusive and may be imposed in addition to the remedies set forth in s. 489.127(2). In addition, nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the department or any local governing body from filing a civil action or seeking criminal penalties against an unlicensed contractor.