As spring quickly approaches, so too does the April 30 deadline for Florida auto dealers to renew their licenses, a process that requires them to renew their current bond and submit it to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Although there are also licenses available in Florida for mobile home and recreational vehicle dealers, this reminder pertains specifically to motor vehicle dealers, as the other licenses do not expire in April.
Why Florida Auto Dealers Must Renew on Time
Annually, before any license shall be issued to a motor vehicle dealer, the applicant-dealer of new or used motor vehicles shall deliver to the department a good and sufficient surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit, executed by the applicant-dealer as principal, in the sum of $25,000.
If a surety bond is not received by the department upon the initial filing of an application for a license, the license will be denied. However, if a licensee submits a bond that is either canceled by the surety company or they fail to renew, the department will issue an Emergency Suspension Order and an Administrative Complaint, resulting in the immediate suspension of the license. Upon receipt of the suspension order, the licensee has 21 days to obtain a new surety bond or ILOC. Failure to obtain a new surety bond or ILOC will result in the termination of the dealer’s license, at which point they will be forced to start the licensing process over if they wish to continue operating a dealership. If a dealer is caught operating in the state of Florida without a license, they may face punitive action including but not limited to:
- Second-degree misdemeanor
- Liability under civil law for violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
For those dealers who are renewing, it is important to keep in mind that these bonds are underwritten and therefore may take a few days to be issued, so it is highly recommended to begin the renewal process well in advance of the date the license expires, as the department does not allow any gaps in coverage.
How to Become Licensed and Bonded
For those that are not currently licensed, but are interested in becoming a Florida auto dealer, knowing the requirements of obtaining a license is vitally important. Aside from obtaining a surety bond or ILOC, all applicants wishing to obtain a license must abide by specific requirements established by Section 320.27 of Florida Statutes.
Oftentimes, obtaining a bond can seem to be the most daunting step an applicant must take in order to become licensed. However, by contacting SuretyBonds.com and speaking directly with a surety agent, applicants can expect to gain a better understanding of surety bonds and quickly get quoted at the lowest rate available to them. For further information on Florida auto dealers, our dedicated bond page contains plenty of additional information on licensing and bonding requirements.