Skip Navigation
Last Visited »

Hurricane Irma

As we continue our recovery and cleanup efforts, please visit the Emergency website for the latest information on openings and closings in Miami-Dade County.

Owner Responsibilities

It is up to the owner to ensure that the contractor obtains their own permit. This permit makes the contractor legally responsible for their portion of the work. If you hire a contractor, it is your responsibility to ensure that the contractor is licensed and insured. Always ask to see the permit for your project. If no permit is obtained, you (the owner) are legally responsible. If a contractor tells you to get a owner/builder permit, you become legally responsible for all of the work done.

(See also: Owner Builder Permits) 

Notice of Commencement

For your protection under the Construction Lien Law and to avoid the possibility of paying twice for improvements to real property, you must record a Notice of Commencement in the Clerk of the Court’s Office.

  • The Notice of Commencement must be signed by you, the owner contracting the improvement, and not your agent.
  • Florida’s Construction Lien Law (Chapter 713, Part One, Florida Statutes) requires the recording of a Notice of Commencement with the Clerk of the Courts for real property improvements greater than $2,500.
  • Under Florida law, those who work on your property or provide materials and are not paid, have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property. This claim is known as a construction lien.
  • The Notice of Commencement must be completed and recorded within 90 days before starting the work. 
  • A copy is also to be posted on the job site.

Insurance Requirements

It is the owner's responsibility to obtain insurance for all those on the job except licensed contractors. Check with your insurance agent. Your homeowner's policy may provide coverage or you may need a rider to your policy to cover your liability. Since October 1, 1989, contractors are required by State Law to carry Workers' Compensation Insurance if they have one or more employees

You should be advised that if your day labor employees cause any damage to persons or property, or if any of your day labor employees are injured on the job, you are liable. Your regular home insurance policy ordinarily DOES NOT cover this type of liability. Please check with your insurance agent.

Licensed contractors

Chapter 10 of the Code of Miami-Dade County and Chapter 489 of the Florida Statutes require that contractors be licensed. The County regulates licensed contractors and provides enforcement against unlicensed contractors.

By calling the Contractor Licensing and Enforcement Section at 786-315-2561, you can be informed if there are any complaints against the contractor, whether or not the contractor is licensed and whether the contractor has current liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Licensed contractors must have general liability and worker’s compensation insurance in effect at all times.

It is also important to know that the 1995 Florida Legislature created the “Homebuyer’s Protection Act”. This Act amends several sections of Florida Statutes and was effective October 1, 1995. Most of the provisions are directed at commercial construction although some are directed at general construction. The following are some of the key provisions of the act.

  • Section 489.1265(1) & (2) Florida Statutes provide that a contractor may not enter into an agreement with, or knowingly allow his certification to be used by, a person who is not certified or registered.
  • Section 489.1265(3) provides that a contractor, except when working without compensation, may not obtain permits for construction work without first entering into a contract to perform improvements. A violation of this provision is a misdemeanor of the first degree and a subsequent violation is a felony.
  • Section 489.126 requires that a contractor who receives money totaling more than 10% of the contract price for work on residential property must apply for the necessary permits within 30 days after payment is made and must start work within 90 days after all permits are issued, unless the person who made payment agreed to a longer period in writing.
  • Section 489.1425 requires the contractor to notify residential property owners of a recovery fund no later than the date the owner makes the initial payment and at the time final payment is made. The contractor must inform the owner clearly and conspicuously in writing of how and where to file a claim and an explanation of consumers rights under the Construction Industry Recovery Fund.
  • Section 713.165 provides that the owner may request from the contractor a list of all subcontractors and suppliers. This request must be in writing and delivered by Registered or Certified mail. Within 10 days after receipt of the written request, the contractor must furnish the list. Failure to do so results in the forfeiture of the contractor’s right to assert a lien against the owner’s property.

Unscrupulous contractors

Early warning signs that you may be dealing with an unscrupulous contractor could include:

  • A large down payment is requested before work begins.
  • Many requests for money during early phases of construction.
  • A verbal contract only, as person is not willing to put all terms in writing.
  • You are asked to make your check payable to an individual’s name or asked to make payment in cash or to make the check payable to “cash.”
  • The contractor suggests doing the work without permits or asks you, as the homeowner, to obtain the permit.

Contractor complaints

If a contractor abandons the work or if you have a complaint regarding his/her performance, you can read about filing contractor complaints and search for contractors, or contact the Contractor Licensing and Enforcement Section at 786-315-2561 and file a complaint.

The Contractor Licensing and Enforcement Section will investigate and work toward a resolution of the problem.

If the permit is active, you should contact an Inspector by calling 786-315-2000 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. However, it may be necessary for you to hire a new contractor to complete the work or you may complete the work as an owner-builder, if you qualify by passing a verbal test.

Final payment to the contractor

Before making a final payment to the contractor, the contractor should provide to you proof that all final inspections have been approved by the department or provide a Certificate of Completion or Occupancy issued by the Department. If you want to verify that all inspection approvals have been obtained, you may call the Permit Records Section at 786-315-2100.

Additionally, you should request final release of liens from any individuals or firms who have provided labor, material or supplies, especially those who have sent you a “Notice to Owner” letter.

Safety barrier for swimming pool

You are required to erect an approved safety barrier around the property or pool, under a building permit obtained from the County prior to final inspection of the pool. The safety barrier must also be inspected and approved by this department. Failure to comply will result in the issuance of a $500 ticket to you, the property owner.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Jan 25, 2017 11:57:26 AM

You are now leaving the official website of Miami-Dade County government. Please be aware that when you exit this site, you are no longer protected by our privacy or security policies. Miami-Dade County is not responsible for the content provided on linked sites. The provision of links to these external sites does not constitute an endorsement.

Please click 'OK' to be sent to the new site, or Click 'Cancel' to go back.