Unlicensed Activity - General Topics

Unlicensed Activity is a business or professional regulated by DBPR that is practicing in Florida without a valid, active license to practice that profession, regardless of the means of the performance or delivery of such services.

DBPR licenses and regulates numerous businesses and professions.  For a list of those, please click here.

If you have any questions about whether a specific service, establishment, or individual may require a license, please contact our Customer Contact Center at 850.487.1395

Floridians are asked to report any suspected unlicensed activity to DBPR by:

Phone: Call the toll-free Unlicensed Activity Hotline at (866) 532-1440.

Email:  ULA@MyFloridaLicense.com

Online: Businesses and consumers can file a complaint at www.MyFloridaLicense.com

Download the DBPR Mobile App: DBPR Mobile App Once downloaded, select the “Report Unlicensed Activity” option

Fax: 850-487-9864

Mail an Unlicensed Complaint Form to:
Unlicensed Activity Program
Department of Business and Professional Regulation
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2212

 

In order to better serve you, please include all supporting documentation, such as contracts, proposals, invoices, proof of payment, permit, liens, etc.

Tipsters may remain anonymous, however, please note that under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public record. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail. Instead, contact our office by phone or in writing.

When a complaint is investigated, the department must provide a copy of your complaint to the person being investigated. Complaints of unlicensed activity are always public record.

Yes. Section 455.225(1), Florida Statutes, states, “the department may investigate an anonymous complaint if the complaint is in writing and is legally sufficient, if the alleged violation of law or rules is substantial, and if the department has reason to believe, after preliminary inquiry that the violations alleged in the complaint are true.” However, the department needs as much information as possible to successfully investigate an anonymous complaint. If not enough information is received, the case may be closed. Callers to the Unlicensed Activity Hotline, (866) 532-1440, who provide a tip regarding potential unlicensed activity may remain anonymous. CAUTION: Individuals who file a complaint using the e-mail account ULA@MyFloridaLicense.com, are advised that all e-mails to state government are public record and will become part of the department’s investigative file.

Please provide any and all names, contact information, and documents that you have to support your complaint. The department may ask you to provide other information if needed. For example, if your complaint is against an unlicensed contractor, we may ask for a copy of the contract and proof of payment.

The department will notify you in writing at various stages in the complaint process, including:

  • When we receive your complaint
  • When the review or investigation is complete
  • When you case is forwarded to the legal section for review
  • When an Administrative Complaint is filed
  • When you case is closed
  • When you case is set for a hearing
  • When a Final Order is filed

The status of any appeal

Yes, it is a criminal offense to practice without a license per F.S. 489.127.  During a declared state of emergency, the penalty for unlicensed activity is elevated from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

The department may issue:

  • Citation: A citation can be issued for engaging in, offering to, or advertising unlicensed activity imposing a fine up to $2,500.
  • Notice to Cease and Desist: A notice to cease and desist is issued to a person stating the alleged unlicensed activity, giving the person information about the applicable law, and directing them to cease doing the work without a license. This is similar to a traffic warning.
  • Administrative Complaint: A charging document alleging a violation of law and seeking to exercise the agency’s enforcement authority or to take disciplinary action.
  • Injunction: A circuit court order forbidding a person or business from engaging in unlicensed activity.

DBPR is required by law to forward any unlicensed activity cases to the local State Attorney for prosecution. During a declared state of emergency, the penalty for unlicensed activity is elevated from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. Because of the heightened penalty, you may wish to check with the State Attorney’s Office regarding any cases they may be pursuing.

The department does not have statutory authority to order an unlicensed person to refund your money. However, the department tries to help you get your money back whenever possible. Unlicensed activity cases are referred to the local State Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution. All cases are handled by the local State Attorney’s Office. The judge can order the unlicensed person to refund your money. If you call the State Attorney’s Office about your case, please remember that the criminal case number is not the same as the department’s case number.

You can apply for a license here. Please select the type of business or professional license you would like to apply, manage or renew. Once you make your selection you will be taken to the page with the options in the “Getting Started” section.

Yes, you can verify if someone has a license. A license can be verified by searching the DBPR database.

Fines and costs are due within 60 calendar days from the date of service of the citation. To ensure proper credit for payment please attach a copy of the citation with payment and send to:

Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Attn: Revenue Validation Unit
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2212

A sweep is an enforcement operation by the department to check the licensure status and credentials of individuals or business seen engaging in activities or providing services that require a license.

An enforcement operation is an enforcement action by the department, often in conjunction with law enforcement that catches individuals in the act of offering to perform services or engage in activities that require a license

Yes. To request a speaker, please contact the Unlicensed Activity Program at (866) 532-1440 or ULA@myfloridalicense.com.

Need Help?

All requests for publications, documents, forms, applications for licenses, permits and other similar certifications can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.

Sterling Whisenhunt, Director 

Division of Alcoholic Beverages & Tobacco
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0791

Telephone: 850.487.1395
Facsimile: 850.922.5175