In A Nutshell
- The Recovery Fund was established to provide a measure of recompense to homeowners who have suffered financial harm from the unlawful acts of contractors. Its scope is limited and very specific. The Fund is truly a last resort for homeowners.
- The goal is to do everything possible during the project to avoid having to seek recovery from the fund.
If you have come to the point where you are seeking to recover money from the Fund you should certainly have sought out experienced legal advice by now and your attorney can help you to navigate through the application process.
The Recovery Fund is financed from surcharges on building permits issued throughout the state. Because of the recent and dramatic decline in revenues generated from permits the Fund is currently processing only claims for which money is available. The award of claims is consequently irregular and erratic. They are however continuing to accept applications, review and payment will be made as funds become available.
In order to make a claim on the Fund you would need to have exhausted all other remedies and resources for recovering your financial loss. This means you must have obtained a final judgment from a Florida civil or criminal court, or a restitution order from the Construction Industry Licensing Board, or an award in arbitration. 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 does not pay post-judgment interest, punitive damages, or attorney fees. The Fund only pays what you have not yet collected for actual or compensatory damages. The maximum that the Fund will pay is $50,000.
You will have had to enter into a written contract with a state licensed contractor. There is no appeal to recovery from the Fund for transactions with an unlicensed contractor. The contract had to have been for improvements to your residence only, not a business or rental property. A contract to purchase a completed residence from a developer is not eligible.
The contract had to have been with a Division 1 Contractor i.e. a general, building or residential contractor. No recovery is available for claims arising from transactions with roofing, plumbing, swimming pool, air conditioning/heating etc. contractors.
There is no recovery from the Fund if the damages suffered were the result of the homeowner making “improper” payments to a contractor. See the sections on Progress Payments and Final Payments for a discussion of Proper and Improper Payments, also see a summary here: Proper & Improper Payments Summary.
To seek compensation from the Fund you would have had to suffer a financial loss due to the contractor violating specific Florida Statutes including:
- The contractor has committed financial mismanagement and caused valid liens to be recorded against the property by not paying subcontractors and material suppliers after he has received funds from the owner to pay for those supplies and services.
- The contractor has abandoned the homeowner’s job after having received payment in excess of the work performed.
- The contractor abandons a project for more than 90 days without just cause.
- The contractor signs a statement with respect to a project or contract falsely indicating that the work is bonded; falsely indicating that payment has been made for all subcontracted work, labor, and materials which results in a financial loss to the owner; or falsely indicating that workers' compensation and public liability insurance are provided.
- The contractor furnishes a false statement including affidavits, waivers or releases of lien or any other document which the owner relies upon to his financial detriment.
For any improvement in excess of $2,500 it is required by law that the contractor make the owner aware, in writing, of the existence of the Florida Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund.
Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)
Address: 1940 North Monroe Street, Tallahassee FL 32399
Web site to check a license
Address: 1940 N Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399
Frequently Asked Questions about the Fund
Fund Information Sheet
Title XXXII, Chapter 489, Part I – Construction Contracting
Title XL, Chapter 713, Part I – Construction Liens
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