Where has all my money gone? If you have ever found yourself asking this question when working with a contractor or construction company, and the project seems to always be going over budget, then you may be entitled to recover from the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund. However, there are a few qualifications you must meet before recovering.
Am I Eligible to Recovery From the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund?
You must have suffered monetary loss due to certain acts by the contractor, financially responsible officer, or business organization licensed under Chapter 489, Part I, s. 489.105(3) Florida Statutes.
To recover from the Construction Industry Recovery Fund, you must have:
1) Entered into a signed written contract with a licensed contractor for work on your home. Both the violation of law and the signing of the construction contract must have occurred on or after July 1, 1993
2) Received a final judgment or order of restitution against the contractor, financially responsible officer or business organization; and
3) Suffered a financial loss due to the contractor violating Florida Statute 489.129(1):
- Committing mismanagement or misconduct in the practice of contracting that causes financial harm to a customer (see statute for particulars);
- 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.
What Claims are Eligible for Recovery From the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund?
(g) claim – When there were valid liens filed that was not satisfied by the contractor; the contractor abandoned the job and the percentage of completion is less than the percentage paid, or the job was completed and the customer pays more than what was contracted for as a result of circumstances beyond the control of the contractor.
(j) claim – The contractor has done nothing for 90 days, termination was without cause or notice to the owner, or the contractor failed to perform without cause.
(k) claim – False statements that the work is bonded, false statements regarding payment of all subcontracted work, labor, and materials, or falsely alleging that workers’ compensation or public liability insurance is provided.
What are the Conditions for Recovery from the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund?
You will need to file a claim form with the Construction Industry Licensing Board (“CILB”) in order to recover. You must first obtain a final judgment from a Florida civil or criminal court or a restitution order from the CILB or an award in arbitration, based on the g, j, k violation types. Claims must be filed within 1 year from the conclusion of any civil or administrative action based on the act.
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 and if so, you must try to recover before you can collect any money from the Recovery Fund. The fund is a last resort.
How Much Can I Recover for my Contractor’s Actions?
The fund only pays what you have not yet collected for actual or compensatory damages. The Fund has a maximum cap based on the contractor’s Division. Claims against a Division 1 contractor have a maximum of $50,000 per claim, or $500,000 per contractor. For claims against a Division 2 contractor, the caps are $15,000 per claim and $150,000, per contractor. Contractor cap is for the lifetime of the contractor.
Who is not Eligible to Recover From the Florida Construction Industry Recovery Fund?
- The contract was executed and the violation occurred before July 1, 1993;
- The Claimant is the spouse of the judgment debtor or a personal representative of such spouse;
- The Claimant is a certificate holder or registrant who acted as the contractor in the transaction which is the subject of the claim;
- Such person’s claim is based upon a construction contract in which the certificate holder or registrant was acting with respect to the property owned or controlled by the certificate holder or registrant;
- Such person’s claim is based upon a construction contract in which the contractor did not hold a valid and current state license at the time of the construction contract, or
- Such person was associated in a business relationship with the certificate holder or registrant other than the contract at issue.