Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Carmel on the Case: Recovery Fund
Owning your own home is the American dream. Construction projects involving that dream house - can become a nightmare. But Investigative Reporter Carmel Cafiero says there is some financial help available -- if you know where to look.
(WSVN) -- If you're giving your house a facelift -- you might expect the finished product - to look something like this.
But if you're not careful - you could end up with a mess like this.
If your home has become a money pit because you've been burned by a bad builder - you may be able to recover up to 25 thousand dollars from the state.
The State Construction Board decides if ripped-off homeowners should get money back.
To be eligible you must have done business with a licensed contractor.
Then - you have to take that contractor to court and win a judgment for your damages.
If the contractor does not pay up - you're eligible to apply.
Assistant Attorney General David Bundy: "It's important because it's one avenue where consumers can get some restitution for their damages."
Just imagine your home looking like this.
Load bearing walls torn down...
The attic left open to rats...
And a pool that is a pond.
Lourdes Piloto: "We felt that the only thing we could do was give him money to be able to finish."
Lourdes and Juan Piloto are the home owners. They will now get 19 thousand dollars from the recovery fund.
Lourdes Piloto: "I am pleased because I feel that there was some sense of justice, but I had to fight very hard for my justice."However, only certain violations will be considered by the committee They include misconduct - like contractors not paying sub contractors.
Abandoning the job.
Or making false statements.Shawn Sturm is hoping to get money from the fund.
This is how a contractor left his patio.
And now, he's getting the runaround from a second contractor he hired to fix the first contractor's bad work.
Shawn Strum: "The sand runs out down below, empties into the canal and I end up bringing buckets of sand over here because I've fallen in it twice."
His raised deck is sinking, and so is his confidence in the construction industry.
Shawn Strum: "I think they laugh all the way to the bank."
The Recovery Fund can take some of the sting out of getting stung - but only if you have done business with a licensed contractor. So before you hire anyone make sure the license is active and check references.
For more information, or if you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE
CILB Recovery Fund
1940 North Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2202
FOR ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: