Under Florida law, subcontractors and material suppliers can file what is known as a construction lien, against the homeowner, if they are not paid for work performed or materials.
You call a licensed contractor and think all is well. The estimate is within your budget and the contractor seems like a very nice person. You tell him to proceed and actually pay one third up front.
The contractor gets the necessary permits and the work begins. The quality of his work is absolutely top notch. The building inspector signs off on every phase of the job, a picture perfect job. At the end of the job you pay the remainder of the money owed and everyone is happy.
It is months later that you learn there is a lien placed against your property because the contractor has not paid the supplier for the material used to do the job, materials you have already paid for. How can this happen? Under Florida law, subcontractors and material suppliers can file what is known as a construction lien if they are not paid for work performed or materials.
Is there anything you can do to protect yourself against this type of rip off? Before you hire a contractor you should do a little homework. Check with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to make sure the contractor is licensed and is in good standing with the Department.
Get the licenses number and visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com to verify first that the license is valid and there are no outstanding issues against the contractor with the Department. The Department lists complaints filed if it is determines probable cause of violation of state regulation. You can also verify a license by call 850-487-1395.
Make sure that the contractor has workers compensation coverage. If the contractor does not have this coverage and a worker should get hurt, you could be liable. Visit www.fldfs.com/wc/ and click the box that says “proof of coverage database”.
Check with your local building department and inquire if they have had any issues with this particular contractor. You could also check the Better Business Bureau in your area. Another level of comfort you could add would be to ask the contractor for the names of customers he has done work for, ask them if they were satisfied.
I know this seems like a lot to do just to get a little work done and it is, but today you must be very careful when it comes to money. More and more people are figuring out ways to rip others off in order to make a little more money. Don’t become a victim, do a little checking and avoid paying twice.
and videos every morning!