Development Services FAQs

 

Contractor Licensing

  1. How do I obtain a contractor license in Hillsborough County or the State of Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)?

    Due to State of Florida House Bill 735 not all trades require a contractor license in Hillsborough County.

    Review the License Comparison table to determine if a license is required for your trade.

    If a license is required, based upon the License Comparison table, your options include:

    • Apply for a Local Specialty license, if available (only valid in the issuing county)
    • Apply for a State Registered license (only valid in the issuing county and requires registration with the DBPR)
    • Obtain State Certified license via the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)
  2. Will my Local Specialty contractor license remain in effect after 7/1/2023 due to the impacts of House Bill 735?

    The following Local Specialty licenses are no longer required as of 7/1/2021:

    • Insulation
    • Painting
    • Paving
    • Tile/Marble

    The following Local Specialty licenses will be no longer be valid as of 7/1/2023. If the work you perform requires permitting, refer to the License Comparison table for your options for licensure.

    • Carpentry
    • Concrete
    • Garage Door Installation
    • Hurricane Shutters
    • Masonry
    • Plaster & Stucco
    • Siding, Windows & Doors
    • Signs, non-electrical
    • Solar
    • Structural Steel
    • Waterproofing, Guniting & Sandblasting

    The following Local Specialty licenses will continue to be issued and will remain in effect after 7/1/2023 because the license type mirrors a license offered by the DBPR (license renewal required via HillsGovHub):

    • Aluminum Structure
    • Demolition
    • Drywall
    • Glass & Glazing
    • Irrigation
    • Marine Contractor
  3. How do I renew my Local Specialty contractor license?

    Local Specialty licenses are renewed via HillsGovHub. Refer to the Complete License Renewal User Guide for the process to renew the license.

    First time users must register for HillsGovHub and may need to complete License Verification for the contractor license (regardless of the current ability to pull permits). Follow the License Verification User Guide to complete this step.

    Note:
    • License Verification is only required one time and will enable functionality to perform License Renewal and updating contractor information. If the contactor license does not appear in My Records (Licenses section), complete License Verification
    • Local Specialty license holders are required to update COI including Worker’s Comp, General Liability & Bond
  4. How do I renew my State Registered contractor license with Hillsborough County?

    State Registered licenses are renewed via HillsGovHub.

    Refer to the Complete License Verification User Guide for the process to renew the license.

    First time users must register for HillsGovHub and may need to complete License Verification for the contractor license. Follow the License Verification User Guide to complete this step.

    Note:

    • You must renew your license with the DBPR prior to renewing with Hillsborough County
    • No fees are collected during renewal
    • License Verification is only required once and will enable License Renewal and updates. If the contactor license does not appear in My Records > Licenses section, complete License Verification
    • State Registered license holders are required to update COI including Worker’s Comp, General Liability & Bond
  5. How do I renew my State Certified contractor license with Hillsborough County?

    State Certified licenses are renewed via HillsGovHub. Refer to the Complete License Renewal User Guide for the process to renew the license.

    First time users will need to register for HillsGovHub and may need to complete License Verification for the contractor license. Follow the License Verification User Guide for steps on how to complete the process.

    • You must renew your license with the DBPR prior to renewing with Hillsborough County
    • No fees are collected during renewal
    • License Verification is only required once and will enable License Renewal and updates. If the contactor license does not appear in My Records > Licenses section, complete License Verification
    • State Certified license holders are only required to update Worker’s Compensation information and license expiration date with Hillsborough County
  6. How do I obtain a journeyman certificate of competency (JE/JP card)?

    See Journeyman Electrician/Journeyman Plumber section of the Contractor Licensing web page.

  7. How do I obtain a license with the State of Florida (Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)?

    Contact the State of Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR).

  8. What information should be displayed in the Certified Holder section of the Certificate of Insurance?

    The Certificate Holder section must display the following:
    Hillsborough County Contractor Licensing
    601 E. Kennedy Blvd., 19th Floor
    P.O. Box 1110
    Tampa FL 33601

  9. How do I update my Workers Compensation, General Liability, COI, contractor information and other information?

    All updates must be made via HillsGovHub as outlined in the Update Contractor Information User Guide. Updates can no longer be performed via email.

    Note:

    • License Verification must be completed prior to making any updates. Refer to the License Verification User Guide
    • State Certified license holders are only required to update Worker’s Compensation information and license expiration date with Hillsborough County
  10. Is a Worker’s Compensation exemption certificate accepted?

    If you have a Worker’s Compensation exemption from the State of Florida, please upload with your registration or during contractor information update.

    Note:

    • The exemption certificate must be in the license holder’s name. For example, if the license holder is John Smith the exemption certificate must be in John Smith’s name
    • The exemption application is not proof of exemption. Do not upload a copy of the exemption application.
  11. If a local license is no longer required for my trade, do I still need a Hillsborough County Code Compliance Bond?

    A Hillsborough County Code Compliance Bond is no longer required. For all other business requirements please refer to State & local laws for business operations. Questions pertaining to Business Tax Receipts or other business-related questions can be referred to hillstax.org

  12. If a local license is no longer required for my trade, do I still need to have general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance/exception?

    For all insurance and other type of business requirements please refer to State & local laws for business operations.

  13. How can I add a Delegate (formally known as authorized agent)?

    Delegates must be added via HillsGovHub. See the top of page 4 on the Manage My Account User Guide for the steps to add a delegate to your license.
    Delegates must have an account utilizing the same email address added in step 2 noted in the guide. If they have not yet registered for HillsGovHub with their email address, have the delegate(s) complete this step first.
    Delegates will also receive reminder emails when expiration dates are approaching.  

  14. What fees are related to licensing?
    • State Certified - no fees assessed
    • State Registered
      • Application fee $280 total ($50 to initiate and $230 balance due when application is accepted)
      • One time registration fee $140
      • No fee for renewals
    • Local Specialty license holders are charged initial registration, renewal, and late fees when appliable
      • Application fee $280 total ($50 to initiate and $230 balance due when application is accepted)
      • Renewal fee $140 for 2 year cycles

    Late fee $70 per year

  15. What documentation is required to maintain my Local Specialty or State Registered contractor license in Hillsborough County? Required documents:

    Note:
    State Certified license holders are only required to update Worker’s Compensation information and license expiration date with Hillsborough County

  16. What is “grandfathering” and is it available through the State of Florida for a long-time license holder?

    For State Registered contractors, “grandfathering” is an option open to transfer your license into State Certified status under certain circumstances. State Registered license holders should contact the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) and refer to Senate Bill 1966 for more details. Grandfathering is not available for Local Specialty licenses. .

  17. How do I obtain a contractor’s license for my trade if the work I do is still regulated?

    Local specialty licenses are no longer available in Hillsborough County. Contact the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) to apply for trades listed on the License Comparison table to determine which license may be an option for you. For specific work not listed, please email questions to Licensing@HillsboroughCounty.org.

  18. How do I renew my Journeyman registration and obtain a new Journeyman card?

    Journeyman do not need to complete a renewal process in the HillsGovHub online system. A Journeyman Certification remains valid and does not expire once it is obtained.

    An updated Journeyman card (electrical/plumbing) can be provided by emailing Licensing@HCFLGov.net.

    Note: Do not submit for a Journeyman application. If you are prompted to pay fees at any time, you have selected the incorrect record type. Refunds are not issued for fees $100 or less, with the exception of clerical errors resulting in overpayment.

  19. How can I get an answer for a contractor licensing question not covered here?

    Email your question to Licensing@HCFLGov.net.

Natural Resources

  1. Do I need a permit to remove a tree?

    Generally, all trees on developed residential lots with tree trunks measuring 12” DBH (Diameter at Breast Height, 4.5 feet above ground) or larger require a permit before being removed. A guide for residential tree removal is available. For non-residential properties, trees with trunks greater than 5” DBH require a permit. All street trees will also require a permit prior to removal. Trees that are determined to be hazardous by a certified arborist do not require a permit for removal. Additionally, certain trees do not require a permit for removal.

  2. Do I need a permit to trim, cut or prune my trees?

    No permit is required. However, there is a limit to the amount of pruning you can do to a tree in a growing season. Twenty-five percent (25%) of canopy is the maximum allowed. Excessive pruning (greater than 25% of the canopy) may result in enforcement actions from the County. Consultation with an ISA Certified Arborist is recommended before you begin work. All protected trees must be pruned according to ANSI A 300 Pruning Standards.

  3. Can I prune/cut/trim my neighbor's tree part(s) that hangs over my property line?

    Yes, but you cannot cut the tree in half or improperly or excessively cut/prune/trim. Improper cutting/pruning/trimming is detrimental to the tree. You have every right to prune branches that extend or hang over your property line, however, you must follow industry standards (ANSI A300) for tree pruning. Over-pruning, improper/excessive pruning such as side-cutting (which cutting half the tree at the property line) may result in enforcement actions from the County. You are encouraged to consult with an ISA Certified Arborist before pruning a boundary line or property line tree.

  4. I was told we don't need permits anymore to cut down trees? Is this true? What if it's dangerous?

    The law (HB1159, FS 163.045) allows citizens the right to remove trees that are declared dangerous without a permit from the local government body so long as the property owner obtains documentation from an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist or a Florida licensed landscape architect that the tree presents a danger to persons or property. The documentation must detail an onsite assessment performed in accordance with the tree risk assessment procedures outlined in Best Management Practices - Tree Risk Assessment, Second Edition (2017). A residential property is defined as a single-family, detached building located on a lot that is actively used for single-family residential purposes and that is either a conforming use or a legally recognized nonconforming use in accordance with the local jurisdiction's applicable land development regulations.

    Trees located in private or county-maintained rights-of-way (between the sidewalk and the street) are not subject to this privilege.

  5. Do I need a permit to remove a sick or dying tree?

    Generally, yes, unless the tree has been declared dangerous by an ISA Certified Arborist.

    A completely dead tree with zero living tissue will not require a permit as long as the tree is not located in an environmentally sensitive area, such as a wetland, wetland setback or wetland conservation area. Dead trees may still require replacement. If there are any leaves on the tree it is not dead.

    View our Residential Tree Removal Guide for additional information.

  6. Do I need a permit to remove a tree that is causing damage?

    Generally, yes, a permit would be required.

  7. What is required for a tree removal permit to be approved?

    The Land Development Code allows for the removal of a tree (or trees) that is/are diseased, storm-damaged, causing damage for which there is no other remedy to continue its preservation, or for improvements to your home such as a pool or accessory dwelling. For example: Pruning dead limbs out, raising canopy for sidewalk clearance are examples of remedies that would allow the tree to be preserved. However, if the sidewalk/driveway/home/utilities damage is so severe that the tree cannot be preserved, permitting is the option and generally mitigation (or replacement of the tree or trees) is required. Oftentimes, many common tree issues can be resolved by other remedies versus total tree removal. Consult with an ISA Certified Arborist on options that may resolve the cause of the damage and preserve the tree.

  8. What kind of trees can I plant?

    Hillsborough County’s has a list of approved trees based on their purpose. Available listings include approved street trees, shade trees, ornamental trees, and hedges.

  9. What is a grand oak?

    Generally, a grand oak belongs to the Quercus genus and has a trunk measuring at least 34” DBH (Diameter at Breast Height, 4.5 feet above ground). When a tree reaches Grand Oak status, it’s one of the largest and oldest specimens of its kind in our area, and it has withstood decades of development, deforestation, windstorms and hurricanes, to prove that it is one of the hardiest and sturdiest trees of its species. For this reason, special regulations apply to the removal and pruning of grand oaks.


     
  10. What permits do I need to clear vacant land I bought to build my new home?

    You cannot remove trees that are larger than 5” in diameter at chest-height until you obtain a Land Alteration and Landscaping Permit (LAL). When you apply for your building permit on HillsGovHub, it includes your application for the LAL permit.

  11. Do I need a permit to cut down a tree (or trees) when building a swimming pool?

    Yes, if the tree is greater than 12” in diameter at chest-height. You will indicate that you need this permit within your pool permit application on HillsGovHub. A tree removal permit (submitted separate from your pool permit) will not be approved without an approved pool permit.

  12. Do I need a permit to remove trees to build a detached garage, carport or shed?

    Yes, trees that are larger than 12” in diameter at chest-height require a permit for removal, you can apply for this removal within the permit within the same application for the garage, carport or shed in HillsGovHub.

  13. Do I need a permit to remove trees to build a detached mother-in-law suite?

    Yes, this requires a Land Alteration and Landscaping Permit. On that permit you will show the trees that you need to have removed. This permit is applied for within the same application as the building permit on HillsGovHub.

  14. Can I install a fence in an area designated as a platted wetland setback?

    Fencing in a wetland setback is a project that requires an approved zoning variance to the wetland setback through a public hearing. It is recommended to consult a zoning counselor to identify height and placement restrictions.

  15. How do I get the county to trim or remove a street tree whose limbs are interfering with traffic?

    Public Works is responsible for maintaining 14 feet of clearance over the roadway on streets maintained by Hillsborough County. Privately owned roads, such as those in many gated communities, are not maintained by the County. Service requests may be submitted online.

Mobility & Impact Fees

  1. What are impact & mobility fees?

      Impact Fees are charges assessed on new development to address the impact they are anticipated to have on County schools, parks and fire systems. Mobility fees are charges assessed on new development to address the cost of updating transportation infrastructure.

  2. Are residential projects charged Impact Fees?

    If a dwelling is being replaced by a larger unit, or a change in use (such as from mobile home to single family home), or if a residential project increases the living area of a home, then impact fees may be assessed. It may be possible to obtain credit for structures that were already present on a property. To be able to provide credit for a prior structure, information is required to be provided to the impact fee team. This can be a demolition permit number or a Property History Record that shows the old structure (aka MAF report), which can be obtained from the Property Appraiser’s Office.

  3. When do I pay my Impact Fees?

    Impact fees must be paid prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, or prior to release of permanent power. In some cases, impact fees may be required to be paid earlier, such as for some additions.

  4. How do I know what zone I am in or see a fee schedule?

    Maps and fee information, and residential estimates, can be found online or by calling (813)276-8305, or email at impactfees@hillsboroughcounty.org.

  5. Where can I find information regarding Impact Fees?

    Impact Fee information can be found online or by calling (813)276.8305 or email at impactfees@hillsboroughcounty.org.

Inspections

  1. How do I set up an inspection?

    Inspections must be scheduled through the permit record on HillsGovHub. You must be logged in to schedule an inspection.

  2. Can I schedule a Same Day Inspection?

    Time specific inspections can be scheduled based on the workload and availability of the inspection team. The cost is $102.50. The request must be made before 12:30pm the day before. To schedule a time specific inspection, please email beckb@HCFLGov.net or call (813) 564-4696.

  3. How do I find out who my inspector is or when my inspector will be there?

    View the inspection on the HillsGovHub portal to see your inspector. Inspections are for a specific date and are not time specific. You can request am or pm in the comments and we will try to accommodate the request, but these will be based on the inspector’s workload and route and are not guaranteed.

  4. How do I pay a Red tag or Re-Inspection Fee?

    Red tag and re-inspection fees can be paid on the HillsGovHub portal.

  5. Who handles Tie In Surveys?

    For permits applied on and after January 28th, 2019. The Tie-in-Survey will be required to be placed on the jobsite for the building inspector prior to scheduling the next inspection after the Slab inspection has been approved. Tie in surveys are to be uploaded to the record in HillsGovHub and a copy left on site for the inspection..

  6. How can I get temporary power?

    Schedule an ELE-Electrical power release inspection through the permit record on HillsGovHub. You must be logged in to schedule an inspection.