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The Florida Senate

2004 Florida Statutes

License required of mobile home dealers.
Section 320.77, Florida Statutes 2004

320.77  License required of mobile home dealers.--

(1)  DEFINITIONS.--As used in this section:

(a)  "Dealer" means any person engaged in the business of buying, selling, or dealing in mobile homes or offering or displaying mobile homes for sale. The term "dealer" includes a mobile home broker. Any person who buys, sells, deals in, or offers or displays for sale, or who acts as the agent for the sale of, one or more mobile homes in any 12-month period shall be prima facie presumed to be a dealer. The terms "selling" and "sale" include lease-purchase transactions. The term "dealer" does not include banks, credit unions, and finance companies that acquire mobile homes as an incident to their regular business and does not include mobile home rental and leasing companies that sell mobile homes to dealers licensed under this section. A licensed dealer may transact business in recreational vehicles with a motor vehicle auction as defined in s. 320.27(1)(c)4. Any licensed dealer dealing exclusively in mobile homes shall not have benefit of the privilege of using dealer license plates.

(b)  "Mobile home broker" means any person who is engaged in the business of offering to procure or procuring used mobile homes for the general public; who holds himself or herself out through solicitation, advertisement, or otherwise as one who offers to procure or procures used mobile homes for the general public; or who acts as the agent or intermediary on behalf of the owner or seller of a used mobile home which is for sale or who assists or represents the seller in finding a buyer for the mobile home.

(2)  LICENSE REQUIRED.--No person shall engage in business as, or serve in the capacity of, a dealer in this state unless such person possesses a valid, current license as provided in this section.

(3)  APPLICATION.--The application for such license shall be in the form prescribed by the department and subject to such rules as may be prescribed by it. The application shall be verified by oath or affirmation and shall contain:

(a)  A full statement of the name and the date of birth of the person or persons applying therefor.

(b)  The name of the firm or copartnership with the names and places of residence of all its members, if the applicant is a firm or copartnership.

(c)  The names and places of residence of the principal officers, if the applicant is a body corporate or other artificial body.

(d)  The name of the state under whose laws the corporation is organized.

(e)  The former place or places of residence of the applicant.

(f)  The prior businesses in which the applicant has been engaged, the dates during which the applicant was engaged in such businesses, and the locations thereof.

(g)  A description of the exact location of the place of business, when it was acquired, and whether it is owned in fee simple by the applicant. If leased, a true copy of the lease shall be attached to the application.

(h)  Certification by the applicant that the location is a permanent one, not a tent or a temporary stand or other temporary quarters; and, except in the case of a mobile home broker, that the location affords sufficient unoccupied space to store all mobile homes offered and displayed for sale; and that the location is a suitable place in which the applicant can in good faith carry on business and keep and maintain books, records, and files necessary to conduct such business, which will be available at all reasonable hours to inspection by the department or any of its inspectors or other employees. This subsection shall not preclude a licensed mobile home dealer from displaying and offering for sale mobile homes in a mobile home park.

(i)  Certification by the applicant that the business of a mobile home dealer is the principal business which shall be conducted at that location; however, this provision shall not apply to mobile home park operators licensed as mobile home dealers.

(j)  Such other relevant information as may be required by the department. Each applicant, general partner in the case of a partnership, or corporate officer and director in the case of a corporate applicant, must file a set of fingerprints with the department for the purpose of determining any prior criminal record or any outstanding warrants. The department shall submit the fingerprinting to the Department of Law Enforcement for state processing and forwarding to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for federal processing. The actual cost of such state and federal processing shall be borne by the applicant and is to be in addition to the fee for licensure. The department may issue a license to an applicant pending the results of the fingerprint investigation, which license is fully revocable if the department subsequently determines that any facts set forth in the application are not true or correctly represented.

The department shall, if it deems necessary, cause an investigation to be made to ascertain if the facts set forth in the application are true and shall not issue a license to the applicant until it is satisfied that the facts set forth in the application are true.

(4)  FEES.--Upon making initial application, the applicant shall pay to the department a fee of $300 in addition to any other fees now required by law. The fee for renewal application shall be $100. The fee for application for change of location shall be $25. Any applicant for renewal who has failed to submit his or her renewal application by October 1 shall pay a renewal application fee equal to the original application fee. No fee is refundable. All fees shall be deposited into the General Revenue Fund.

(5)  DENIAL OF LICENSE.--The department may deny any applicant a license on the ground that:

(a)  The applicant has made a material misstatement in his or her application for a license.

(b)  The applicant has failed to comply with any applicable provision of this chapter.

(c)  The applicant has failed to provide warranty service.

(d)  The applicant or one or more of his or her principals or agents has violated any law, rule, or regulation relating to the sale of mobile homes.

(e)  The department has proof of unfitness of the applicant.

(f)  The applicant or licensee has engaged in previous conduct in any state which would have been a ground for revocation or suspension of a license in this state.

(g)  The applicant or licensee has violated any of the provisions of the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 or any rule or regulation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development promulgated thereunder.

Upon denial of a license, the department shall notify the applicant within 10 days, stating in writing its grounds for denial. The applicant is entitled to a public hearing and may request that such hearing be held within 45 days of denial of the license. All proceedings shall be pursuant to chapter 120.

(6)  LICENSE CERTIFICATE.--A license certificate shall be issued by the department in accordance with the application when the same is regular in form and in compliance with the provisions of this section. The license certificate may be in the form of a document or a computerized card as determined by the department. The cost of each original, additional, or replacement computerized card shall be borne by the licensee and is in addition to the fee for licensure. The fees charged applicants for both the required background investigation and the computerized card as provided in this section shall be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund. The license, when so issued, shall entitle the licensee to carry on and conduct the business of a mobile home dealer at the location set forth in the license for a period of 1 year from October 1 preceding the date of issuance. Each initial application received by the department shall be accompanied by verification that, within the preceding 6 months, the applicant or one or more of his or her designated employees has attended a training and information seminar conducted by the department or by a public or private provider approved by the department. Such seminar shall include, but not be limited to, statutory dealer requirements, which requirements include required bookkeeping and recording procedures, requirements for the collection of sales and use taxes, and such other information that in the opinion of the department will promote good business practices.

(7)  SUPPLEMENTAL LICENSE.--Any person licensed pursuant to this section shall be entitled to operate one or more additional places of business under a supplemental license for each such business if the ownership of each business is identical to that of the principal business for which the original license is issued. Each supplemental license shall run concurrently with the original license and shall be issued upon application by the licensee on a form to be furnished by the department and payment of a fee of $50 for each such license. Only one licensed dealer shall operate at the same place of business. A supplemental license authorizing off-premises sales shall be issued, at no charge to the dealer, for a period not to exceed 10 consecutive calendar days.

(8)  RECORDS TO BE KEPT BY LICENSEE.--Each licensee shall keep records in such form as shall be prescribed by the department. Such records shall include:

(a)  A record of the purchase, sale, or exchange, or receipt for the purpose of sale, of any mobile home;

(b)  The description of each such mobile home, including the identification or serial number and such other numbers or identification marks as may be thereon, and a statement that a number has been obliterated, defaced, or changed, if such fact is apparent; and

(c)  The name and address of the seller, the purchaser, and the alleged owner or other person from whom the mobile home was purchased or received and the person to whom it was sold or delivered, as the case may be.

(9)  EVIDENCE OF TITLE REQUIRED.--The licensee shall also have in his or her possession for each new mobile home a manufacturer's invoice or statement of origin, and for each used mobile home a properly assigned certificate of title or registration certificate if the used mobile home was previously registered in a nontitle state, from the time the mobile home is delivered to the licensee until it has been disposed of by him or her.

(10)  SETUP OPERATIONS.--Each licensee may perform setup operations only as defined in s. 320.822, and the department shall provide by rule for the uniform application of all existing statutory provisions relating to licensing and setup operations.

(11)  PENALTY.--The violation of any provision of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083

(12)  INJUNCTION.--In addition to the remedies provided in this chapter, and notwithstanding the existence of any adequate remedy at law, the department is authorized to make application to any circuit court of the state, and the circuit court shall have jurisdiction, upon a hearing and for cause shown, to grant a temporary or permanent injunction restraining any person from acting as a mobile home dealer under the terms of this section who is not properly licensed or who violates or fails or refuses to comply with any of the provisions of chapter 319 and this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted thereunder. Such injunction shall be issued without bond. A single act in violation of the provisions of chapter 319 or this chapter shall be sufficient to authorize the issuance of an injunction.

(13)  SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION.--The department shall, as it deems necessary, either suspend or revoke any license issued hereunder upon a finding that the licensee violated any provision of this section or of any other law of this state having to do with dealing in mobile homes or perpetrated a fraud upon any person as a result of such dealing in mobile homes.

(14)  ADMINISTRATIVE FINES.--In addition to the exercise of other powers provided in this section, the department is authorized to assess, impose, levy, and collect by legal process fines, in an amount not to exceed $1,000 for each violation, against any licensee if it finds that a licensee has violated any provision of this section or has violated any other law of this state having to do with dealing in motor vehicles. Any licensee shall be entitled to a hearing pursuant to chapter 120 should the licensee wish to contest the fine levied, or about to be levied, upon him or her.

(15)  BOND.--

(a)  Before any license shall be issued or renewed, the applicant shall deliver to the department a good and sufficient surety bond, executed by the applicant as principal and by a surety company qualified to do business in the state as surety. The bond shall be in a form to be approved by the department and shall be conditioned upon the dealer's complying with the conditions of any written contract made by the dealer in connection with the sale, exchange, or improvement of any mobile home and his or her not violating any of the provisions of chapter 319 or this chapter in the conduct of the business for which the dealer is licensed. The bond shall be to the department and in favor of any retail customer who shall suffer any loss as a result of any violation of the conditions hereinabove contained. The bond shall be for the license period, and a new bond or a proper continuation certificate shall be delivered to the department at the beginning of each license period. However, the aggregate liability of the surety in any one license year shall in no event exceed the sum of such bond. The amount of the bond required shall be as follows:

1.  A single dealer who buys, sells, or deals in mobile homes and who has four or fewer supplemental licenses shall provide a surety bond in the amount of $25,000.

2.  A single dealer who buys, sells, or deals in mobile homes and who has more than four supplemental licenses shall provide a surety bond in the amount of $50,000.

For the purposes of this paragraph, any person who buys, sells, or deals in both mobile homes and recreational vehicles shall provide the same surety bond required of dealers who buy, sell, or deal in mobile homes only.

(b)  The department shall, upon denial, suspension, or revocation of any license, notify the surety company of the licensee, in writing, that the license has been denied, suspended, or revoked and shall state the reason for such denial, suspension, or revocation.

(c)  Any surety company which pays any claim against the bond of any licensee shall notify the department, in writing, that it has paid such a claim and shall state the amount of the claim.

(d)  Any surety company which cancels the bond of any licensee shall notify the department, in writing, of such cancellation, giving reason for the cancellation.

History.--s. 1, ch. 23665, 1947; s. 2, ch. 70-215; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 1, ch. 74-169; s. 2, ch. 75-203; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 32, ch. 77-357; s. 1, ch. 77-457; s. 20, ch. 78-95; ss. 8, 16, 17, ch. 80-217; s. 199, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 9, ch. 82-66; ss. 5, 6, ch. 82-129; s. 6, ch. 85-176; s. 8, ch. 85-343; s. 1, ch. 87-150; ss. 3, 19, 20, ch. 88-147; s. 40, ch. 91-224; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 7, ch. 92-148; s. 69, ch. 93-120; s. 65, ch. 94-306; s. 917, ch. 95-148; s. 19, ch. 95-333.