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ABC Special Report
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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

 

Outrageous! Buy a New Home - Don’t Sue and Shut Up
Homebuilders will stop at nothing – Now Buyers must agree not to Speak

Beware of New Builder Clause – Homebuilder requires that homebuyer sign clauses forcing buyers to give up their constitutional rights.  It’s a decision between constitutional rights and the American Dream. 

SEE: KB Warranty Conditions - Sign A Shut Up Agreement or No Repairs
PLUS: It's Your Choice, Homebuilder Contracts - Hold Harmless

Florida Alert : Effort to Abolish the Construction Recovery Fund
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Act Quickly: House Bill 1005 proposes to completely Abolish the Florida Homeowner's Construction Recovery Fund
Our worst fears are threatening to become a reality, and we must act quickly to stop this from happening. Representative Dennis Ross is sponsoring HB 1005, that changes the construction licensure law, Chapter 489, Florida Statutes.  He is doing this at the request of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which asks the Legislature to Abolish the Recovery Fund.

A VERY CRITICAL ALERT..... House Bill 1005 proposes to completely ABOLISH the HOMEOWNER'S CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY FUND for homeowners who suffer financial harm due to certain acts by contractors when building, remodeling, or repairing homes in Florida.

Our worst fears are threatening to become a reality, AND WE MUST ACT QUICKLY TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING.
 
Representative Dennis Ross is sponsoring HB 1005, that changes the construction licensure law, Chapter 489, Florida Statutes.  He is doing this at the request of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which asks the Legislature to ABOLISH THE RECOVERY FUND, as follows:
 
Section 489.1401 Legislature intent.--
(4)  It is the intent of the Legislature that no claims shall be received by the Florida Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund after June 30, 2009, and that the recovery fund shall be abolished effective June 30, 2010.
 
PLEASE  send an e-mail and/or make phone calls to Rep. Ross and others.  His contact info is at the end of this e-mail, including others you may wish to consider -- to assist every current and future homeowner in Florida. 
 
You may simply say the following (or whatever you choose, and provide as much detail as possible).
 
 
WE STRONGLY OPPOSE THE SECTION OF HB 1005 TO ABOLISH FLORIDA'S HOMEOWNERS' CONSTRUCTION RECOVERY FUND.  WITHOUT THIS FUND, MANY HOMEOWNERS WHO SUFFER FINANCIAL HARM WHEN BUILDING, REMODELING, OR REPAIRING HOMES IN FLORIDA WILL HAVE LITTLE TO NO RECOURSE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THEIR LOST MONEY DUE TO CONSTRUCTION FRAUDS AND SCAMS THAT CONTINUE TO GROW AND WORSEN IN FLORIDA.
 
INSTEAD OF ABOLISHING THE FUND, WE STRONGLY FAVOR REINSTATEMENT OF COVERAGE FOR HOMEOWNERS WHO SUFFER FINANCIAL HARM BY ROOFING, POOL, PLUMBING, HEATING/COOLING, AND OTHER CONTRACTORS, BY ASSESSING A SURCHARGE ON DIVISION II BUILDING PERMITS.
 
We need to make it clear that, not only do we oppose eliminating the fund to compensate for bad builders gone bust, but we think it needs to apply to all construction contractors licensed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  There should be a Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund and it should apply to all contractors as a condition of keeping their license.
 
A serious hurricane will cause roofs to be damaged or blown away and a simple plumbing problem can flood your house.  Unscrupulous contractors will continue to take our money, do little or no work, disappear, do shoddy work that causes damages to our homes that will result in more homeowners' insurance claims and increased premiums for all of us (and outright cancellations).  Contractors will continue to abandon jobs, not use our money to pay their subcontractors and suppliers, who can file liens against our property to try to recover their losses.  Contractors can file bankruptcy, have their debts discharged or forgiven, even get a "fresh business start," leaving homeowners responsible, by law, to satisfy valid liens, pay the contractor's debts, or face certainty of foreclosure, seizure, and sale of their homes.  Harmed consumers may be forced to borrow extra money to pay off liens, add a second mortgage, pay extra payments and loan fees, PAY TWICE OR MORE for building, remodeling, or repairing our homes.  This is not to imply that all contractors are dishonest, but we do know that over the past several decades many thousands of homeowners have suffered financial harm totaling many millions of dollars when building, remodeling, or repairing homes in Florida.
 
Some information that may be helpful:
In 2004 a legislative bill requested the Legislature to delete Recovery Fund eligibility/coverage for homeowners who suffer financial harm due to certain acts by Division II contractors (roofing, pool, plumbing, heating/cooling, etc.), and this was enacted into law, with the majority of Florida's homeowners unaware that it happened.  In my opinion, this created an unfair and unjust inequity between victims of Division I contractors (residential, general, building) and victims of Division II contractors (roofing, pool, plumbing, etc.) and began to erode the "Legislature's intent and sole purpose of the Recovery Fund ... to compensate any aggrieved claimant who contracted for the construction or improvement of the residence...."           [emphasis added]
 
For over a decade, since the inception of the Recovery Fund, effective July 1, 1993 (after the horrific devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew), through December 31, 2004, Division II harmed consumers were included in the reimbursement process under the 1/2-cent per square footage assessment on Division I building permits.  The problem of consumer financial harm began to significantly increase in both divisions before the 2004 Legislative Session.  Rather than address the problem, for example, by increasing the 1/2-cent surcharge on Division I permits and/or assessing a surcharge on Division II permits, coverage for Division II (roofing, pool, etc.) harmed consumers was deleted from law.  For over three years, Division II harmed consumers have had no access to the Recovery Fund. 
 
Many victims who suffer financial harm are senior citizens whose incomes are limited or fixed.  Loss of their hard-earned money (all too often their life savings) can mean the difference in paying their bills, buying food and medicine, living in their own homes or seeking government-subsidized housing and other assistance.  Many victims are persons with disadvantages or with disabilities.  All of this adds up to a costly result for government. 
 
About the same time coverage for Division II harmed consumers was deleted from law, the amount that can be reimbursed to Division I (residential, general, building) harmed consumers and the lifetime aggregate amount that can be charged against a contractor for committing financial harm WERE BOTH DOUBLED, increasing the strain on the Recovery Fund.   If you build a home and get ripped off by a bad builder, it is very likely that the dollar amount will be greater than if you have a roof repaired or replaced, BUT THE AMOUNT OF EACH LOSS IS COMMENSURATE WITH THE TYPE AND COST OF THE WORK, AND BOTH "CLASSES" OF HARMED CONSUMERS SHOULD HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO THE STATE'S RECOVERY FUND. 
 
More recently, an attempt was made to use Recovery Fund (Trust Fund) moneys to cover state budget shortfalls and deficits, but as you all know, this attempt was unsuccessful (as far as we know).
 
In our e-mails/phone call to Rep. Ross, to Governor Crist, and others, my husband and I plan to ask that a $5 surcharge be assessed on Division II permits to fund reinstatement of coverage for homeowners who suffer financial harm by roofing, pool, plumbing, etc. contractors.  We think this could help and be more in line with the surcharge that is now assessed on Div. I permits.  
 
You may send one e-mail to Rep. Ross, with Cc's to all of the following names, if you wish to do so.  If we say or do nothing, this will continue to send a message that  'All is well just as it is'.  *********************************************************************
Send copies of e-mails to:

Your senator and your representative in your area of Florida    
Charles Bronson, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services -- Consumer Services Hotline:  1-800-435-7352;
    Main No.:  850-488-2221
   Fraud Hotline:  1-866-966-7226   Citizens' Services:  850-414-3900

 
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Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
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