For years, local governments have been collecting fees from state certified contractors associated with providing proof of licensure as a contractor or filing evidence of workers’ compensation insurance coverage. These additional fees typically range from $50 to $100. State law authorizes local governments to provide a schedule of consistent reasonable fees to be used solely for carrying out the local government’s responsibilities in enforcing the Building Code. The basis for the fee structure must relate to the level of service provided by the local government. Specifically, s. 166.222, F.S., provides that local governments may provide a schedule of reasonable inspection fees in order to defer the costs of inspections and enforcement of the provisions of its building code . . . not tracking of contractors’ licenses.
State lawmakers put a halt to this practice during the 2016 Legislative Session. Tucked away in the Building Code Bill (HB 535) now prohibits local governments from requiring payment of any additional fees, charges or expenses associated with providing proof of licensure as a state certified contractor, recording a contractor’s license or providing, recording or filing evidence of workers’ compensation coverage by a contractor.
Local governments can still collect fees for inspection, examination, site examination, building permit (based on square footage of the building) and various administrative fees including repermitting, time extension and reinspection fees.
The following is a copy of s. 553.80, F.S., for your reference:
(7) The governing bodies of local governments may provide a schedule of reasonable fees, as authorized by s. 125.56(2) or s. 166.222 and this section, for enforcing this part. These fees, and any fines or investment earnings related to the fees, shall be used solely for carrying out the local government’s responsibilities in enforcing the Florida Building Code. When providing a schedule of reasonable fees, the total estimated annual revenue derived from fees, and the fines and investment earnings related to the fees, may not exceed the total estimated annual costs of allowable activities. Any unexpended balances shall be carried forward to future years for allowable activities or shall be refunded at the discretion of the local government. The basis for a fee structure for allowable activities shall relate to the level of service provided by the local government and shall include consideration for refunding fees due to reduced services based on services provided as prescribed by s. 553.791, but not provided by the local government. Fees charged shall be consistently applied.
(d) The local enforcement agency may not require the payment of any additional fees, charges, or expenses associated with:
1. Providing proof of licensure pursuant to chapter 489;
2. Recording or filing a license issued pursuant to this chapter; or
3. Providing, recording, or filing evidence of workers’ compensation insurance coverage as required by chapter 440.