STATEMENT OF CONTRACTOR'S RESPONSIBILITIES
Beginning on November 1, 1995, for every construction contract involving work on residential property, the contractor must give the property owner or consumer a copy of the attached Notice of Consumer Rights Under The Construction Industries Recovery Fund. The residential property owner or consumer must be given a copy of the Notice twice.
• YOU MUST GIVE first copy of Notice no later than the date the initial payment on the construction contract is made.
• YOU MUST GIVE second copy of Notice at the time final payment is made on the contract.
• A contractor who FAILS TO GIVE the required Notice, may be fined $500 by the Construction Industry Licensing Board for the first offense, and must be fined $1,000 for each additional offense.
• Fine are payable to the Recovery Fund.
NOTICE OF CONSUMER RIGHT UNDER THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES RECOVERY FUND
You have certain rights under Florida law if you have suffered damages caused by a state-licensed contractor or a construction company with whom you have signed a contract. State law required that you be provided with this notice of your rights regarding the Construction Industries Recovery Fun, including how and where you can file a claim against the Fun for reimbursement of any damages you have suffered.
You may be eligible for reimbursement if you have suffered monetary loss due to certain acts (described below) by the contractors, financially responsible officer or business organization licensed under Chapter 489, Part 1, Florida Statutes. The Fund is available only is cases where the contract was signed and the violation occurred on or after July 1, 1993.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
In order to seek compensation from the Construction Industries Recovery Fund, you must have:
1.Entered into a written contract with a licensed contractor for work on residential real property;
2.Commenced legal action against the contractor, financially responsible officer or business organization; and
3.Suffered a financial loss due to the contractor:
• Knowingly violating applicable city, county, or state building codes or laws;
• Committing mismanagement or misconduct in the practice of contracting that causes financial harm to a customer;
• Abandoning a construction project for more than 90 days; or
• Signing a false statement claiming that the work is bonded, that all payments to subcontractors have been made, or claiming to have provided certain worker's compensation and insurance protection.
Florida law provides specific definitions for determining whether a contractor's actions may constitute one of these violations. See 489.129(1)(d),(h),(k),(l), Fla. Stat. In addition, you must notify the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) of your clam by certified mail at the time you commence legal action.
Filing a complaint against a contractor is not the same as filing a claim against the Fund. Even if you file a complaint against a contractor with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) you still have to give the CILB notice of your claim and you will also be requested to file a Construction Industries Recovery Fund Claim Form with the CILB.
To request a Construction Industries Recovery Fund Form or to receive more information about the Fund, write to:
Construction Industry Licensing Board
7960 Arlington Expressway
Jacksonville, Florida 32211-7467
Phone: (904) 359-6310
If you have questions and/or want to file a complaint with the DBPR against the contractor, the financially responsible officer and/or the business organization, please write to the Complaints Section, DBPR, 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0782.
CONDITIONS FOR RECOVERY
In order to recover from the Fund, you must be an individual - not a company. The Recovery Fund is a last resort. Before you can receive any money from the Fund, you must have obtained a final judgment from a Florida court or a resolution order form the CILB based on the types of violations of law already mentioned. Both the violation of law and the signing of the construction contract must have occurred on or after July 1, 1993. Before the Fun will pay you any money, you must show that you have made every effort to determine if there are any assets from which you can recover all or part of the money you are owed. If so, you must try to recover before you can collect from the Fund. You have to file a claim for recovery with the Fund within two years of the time of the violation of law happens or within 2 years of the time you find out or should have found out about the violation of law. No claim can be made more than five years after the time the violation of law happened.
PAYMENTS FROM THE FUND
The Fund does not pay post-judgment interest, punitive damages, or attorney fees. The Fun only pays what you have not yet collected for actual or compensatory damages. The Fun pays the lesser of up to $25,000 per claim, $25,000 per transaction, or $50,000 per contractor.
For more information about the Fund,
see 489.140 to 489.143, Fla. Stat. and Rules
61G4-21.001 to 61G4-21.005, Fla. Admin. Code
UNLICENSED CONTRACTING EARLY WARNING SIGNS
• A large down payment is requested before work begins. Payments should only be for a part of the work. In order to be licensed, contractors must demonstrate sufficient financial ability to perform the type of project which the license contemplates.
• Many requests for money during early phases of construction. As above, the contractor should be solvent.
• You are asked to obtain the permit. A licensed contractor who is in good standing will always obtain the permit.
• Verbal contract only, person is not willing to put all terms in writing. This is always a sign of potential trouble.
• The contractor does not have proof of insurance. Licensed contractors must have general liability and workers compensation insurance in force at all times.
• You're informed that the job does not require a permit or inspection. Check with your local building official. Almost all projects, except very minor repairs, require a permit.
• The contractor is only willing to work on week-ends or after hours. This is often a sign that the person is an employee who is moonlights without a license. Licensed contractors are full-time business men and women.
• Someone other than the person or company contracting to do the work obtains the permit. Once again, a licensed contractor who is in good standing will always obtain the permit.
• Contractor displays only an occupational license. In order to lawfully engage in contracting, a contractor must be either state Registered or Certified.
• You are asked to make checks payable to individual's name if it is supposed to be in company name, or asked to make payment in cash, or to make the check payable to "cash." Licensed contractors will almost always have a seperate business account.
• Newspaper/flyer or yellow page ads where only the telephone number appears and there is no business address. Licensed contractors are required to include the state license number in all advertising.
• No license number on the vehicle, business cards, contracts, newspaper/flyer or yellow page ads. A contractor is proud of being licensed, and will want that fact known.
NEW MANDATORY WARNING REQUIRED FOR DIRECT
CONTRACT RELATED TO RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS
The 2003 Florida Legislature mandated that a specific warning be included in any direct contract between an owner and a contractor on certain construction projects. This requirement is limited to construction of improvements related to single family dwellings or multiple family dwellings up to and including four units. The warning printed in no less that 18-point capitalized and boldfaced type must read:
According to Florida's Construction Lien Law (Sections 713.001-713.37, Florida Statutes), those who work on your property or provide materials and are not paid in full have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property. This claim is known as a Construction Lien. If your contractor or a subcontractor fails to pay subcontractors, sub-contractors, or material suppliers or neglects to make other legally required payments, the people who are owed money may look to your property for payment, even if you have paid your construction in full. If you fail to pay your contractor, you contractor may also have a lien on your property. This means if a lien is filed your property could be sold against your will to pay for labor, materials, or other services that your contractor or a subcontractor may have filed to pay. Florida's Construction Lien Law is complex and it is recommended that whenever a specific problem arises, you consult an attorney.
As a result, Florida property owners, at the time of entering into construction contracts related to residential dwellings, are educated as to the construction lien law.