Knock, Knock…Home Solicitation Laws

Author: Connie E. McCarthy, J.D. – Law Clerk at the Coleman Law Firm

Are you tired of the pesky salespeople knocking on your door at home? It is a salesperson’s job to try to sell you their product. Do not feel obligated to make a purchase, even if the salesperson is very persuasive with their “limited time offers.”

Did you know that individuals soliciting to sale in your neighborhood are required to hold a permit? According to Florida Statute 501.021-022, individuals who engage in certain door-to-door solicitation activities that sell, lease or rent consumer goods or services with a purchase price in excess of $25.00 are required to obtain a Home Solicitation Permit. This permit is issued by the Clerk of Circuit Court for the county in which the applicants intend to conduct their home solicitation sales. Each Circuit Court may ask for different information from the applicant and they are authorized to impose a reasonable permit fee. For instance, if the individual intends to solicit in both Tampa and Clearwater, they must hold two Home Solicitation Permits – one for Hillsborough County and one for Pinellas County. Conducting home solicitation sales without a permit can result in criminal penalties.

What should you do the next time someone knocks on your door?

  1. Ask to see their home solicitation permit
  2. Ask to see a form of personal identification
  3. Ask for a business card with the telephone and address of the business
  4. If they refuse to provide their permit or refuse to leave, then contact the police

Door-to-door solicitors have a right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. However, so do the homeowners and business owners to post a sign or to prevent individuals from entering their property. To deter home solicitors from knocking on your door, post a “No Soliciting” sign on your property. Putting up a fence may also deter individuals from soliciting on your land. If you live in a Homeowner’s Association, contact the board to find out what rules are regarding home solicitations in your neighborhood. Within the context of a gated community there are obviously more controls available to the Homeowner’s Association, otherwise, these questions can be a bit thorny requiring a case-by-case analysis.

Next time a salesperson knocks on your door, don’t forget to ask them for their permit!

For over thirty years, Jeff Coleman has been providing Estate Planning and Trust and Estate Administration services to the Tampa Bay community. Whether you need assistance in documenting your estate plan or administering a trust or will of a loved one, the Coleman Law Firm is on your side. Where There’s a Will…There’s a Way!

Next Month’s Topic: Charitable or Religious Solicitations and the Use of No Trespassing Sign