In recent posts, we've been discussing how homeowners can protect themselves from being victimized by otherwise unscrupulous contractors. However, what happens when homeowners not only fall victim to contractors, but are otherwise unable to secure any sort of monetary relief?
Somewhat surprisingly, the answer is that they can look to the state or, more specifically, they can look to the Florida Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund.
What exactly is the Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund?
This last resort fund exists to provide reimbursement to homeowners in the Sunshine State who have suffered monetary losses owing to the actions of a contractor. However, it's important to understand that money is only paid out from the recovery fund when applicants satisfy its rather strict eligibility requirements.
What are these eligibility requirements?
The aggrieved homeowner must 1) have entered into a signed written contract with a licensed contractor, 2) secured an order of restitution or final judgment against the contractor, and 3) endured a financial loss because of the contractor's violation of Florida Statute 489.129.
What qualifies as a violation under Florida Statute 489.129?
There are essentially three different types of eligible violations under Florida Statute 489.129, a "g" violation, a "j" violation, and a "k" violation. Even if a homeowner satisfies the first two eligibility requirements, they will receive nothing unless the conduct of the contractor falls under one of these violations.
What is a "g" violation?
This is defined as the contractor "committing mismanagement or misconduct" resulting in financial harm to the customer. Examples of this include the following:
- The contractor failing to satisfy valid liens.
- The contractor abandoning the project when the percentage of completion is less than the percentage received.
- The customer ending up paying more that was called for in the contract after completion of the project owing to circumstances beyond the control of the contractor.
We will continue to discuss this topic in future posts. In the meantime, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have any type of construction law questions or concerns.