How to Verify a Professional's License in Tampa?
The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) handles the issuance of licenses to eligible professionals in the City of Tampa, and this department licenses over 490,000 professionals including architects, construction workers, asbestos consultants, and building code administrators. When considering hiring a professional in Tampa, you should always verify whether they are licensed by the DBPR. Note that hiring a professional that is not licensed in Tampa and other parts of Florida is punishable by a fine of up to $5, 000. You can verify a Tampa professional's license status by utilizing the DBPR's online license search portal.
Once you can verify the professional's license status, you should ensure that this professional also obtains any required permits before starting the job. For example, homeowners or contractors who intend to construct or repair buildings in the city must first obtain a building permit from the City of Tampa Construction Services Division. Note that any work done before a permit is issued is done at the homeowner's risk and inspection of such a building or structure is not done until a valid permit is obtained. Residents can make inquiries about the application process and requirements for obtaining a building permit by calling (813) 274 -8211.
The City of Tampa utilizes a city council system that is made up of seven council members. Four members are elected by district, while the remaining three members are elected at large. The seven members enact laws on behalf of the seven districts in the city. You can locate your district's representative using the city council's online map. Each district in the city is made up of several neighborhoods that have organizations like neighborhood associations and community partnerships. Neighborhood associations in Tampa do not have the power to issue building permits. However, they can advocate for their community on a variety of issues, including land use and zoning. For example, the Armory Gardens Civic Association condemned the use of the Villa Brothers Park as a parking space by members of a Jewish community center located in the neighborhood. The association maintained that the park is the only green space in the community and should be used for public purposes only. Neighborhood associations also advocate for development projects in their communities. In August 2021, the Forest Hill Bliley Road Neighborhood Association advocated for the improvement of a dangerous roadway that has prevented pedestrians from accessing important locations in the neighborhood. Residents can always participate in the decision-making process in their neighborhood by registering with an active neighborhood association in the community. You can find active neighborhood associations in your locality using the City of Tampa official neighborhood registry.
Reporting deceptive business practices can help you avoid turning a simple misunderstanding into a legal matter. In addition to this, consumer complaints also help to create public awareness about consumer fraud in the city. Residents of Tampa should understand that they have the right to report unfair business practices to the appropriate government agencies. These business-related complaints can be made to the Hillsborough County Department of Consumer Protection Services. Note that all complaints must be submitted in writing at the nearest consumer protection service center close to you. In addition to this, complainants may be required to provide more information about their complaints by completing and submitting a complaint form online. Upon receiving the complaint, the department will determine if it should be investigated or referred to another agency. In many cases, the department resolves the issue by mediating between both parties. Note that the department can not take legal actions on behalf of the complainant. As such, residents of Tampa that seek full recovery or compensation should take private legal action against the business in a law court. Matters that are valued at $5,000 or less can be filled with the Hillsborough County Small Claim Court. Finally, if the complaints involve criminal offenses, you can also report the matter to the Tampa Police Department online or by calling (813) 232 - 6130.