A permit has just been issued for work to be performed on your property; here are answers to some common questions you may have.
Florida’s Construction Lien Law (Chapter 713, Part One, Florida Statutes) requires the recording of a Notice of Commencement with the Clerk of the Courts for real property improvements greater than $2,500. This notice must be signed by the property owner. However, it does not apply to the repair or replacement of an existing heating or air conditioning system less than $7,500 in value.
Under Florida law, those who work on your property or provide materials, and are not paid, have a right to enforce their claim for payment against your property. This claim is known as a construction lien.
A Notice of Commencement protects you under the Construction Lien Law and helps you avoid the possibility of paying twice for improvements to real property, It must be signed by you, the owner contracting the improvement, and not your agent.
The Notice of Commencement must be completed and recorded within 90 days before starting the work. A copy is also to be posted on the job site.
Miami-Dade County Code (Chapter 10) and Florida Statutes (Chapter 489) require that contractors be licensed. The Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) regulates licensed contractors and provides enforcement against unlicensed contractors. Contact the Contractor Licensing Section at 786-315-2880, dial 311, or email [email protected] to verify if there are any complaints against the contractor, whether the contractor is licensed and whether the contractor has current liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Licensed contractors must always have general liability and worker’s compensation insurance in effect.
Florida Statutes and the “Homebuyer’s Protection Act” provide the following provisions:
Section 489.127 Florida Statute provides that a contractor may not enter into an agreement with, or knowingly allow his certification to be used by, a person who is not certified or registered.
Section 489.127 also provides that a contractor, except when working without compensation, may not obtain permits for construction work without first entering a contract to perform improvements. A violation of this provision is a misdemeanor of the first degree and a subsequent violation is a felony.
Section 489.126 requires that a contractor who receives money totaling more than 10% of the contract price for work on residential property must apply for the necessary permits within 30 days after payment is made and must start work within 90 days after all permits are issued, unless the person who made payment agreed to a longer period in writing.
Section 489.1425 requires the contractor to notify residential property owners of a recovery fund. Any agreement or contract must contain a written explanation of consumers rights under the Construction Industry Recovery Fund except when the value of labor and materials does not exceed $2,500 in value.
Section 713.165 provides that the owner may request from the contractor a list of all subcontractors and suppliers. This request must be in writing and delivered by Registered or Certified mail. Within 10 days after receipt of the written request, the contractor must furnish the list. Failure to do so results in the forfeiture of the contractor’s right to assert a lien against the owner’s property.
Early warning signs could include:
A large down payment is requested before work begins
Many requests for money during early phases of construction
A verbal contract only, as person is unwilling to put all terms in writing
You are asked to make your check payable to an individual's name or asked to make payment in cash or to make the check payable to "cash"
The contractor suggests doing the work without permits or asks you, as the homeowner, to obtain the permit.
The contractor should provide you proof that all final inspections have been approved by RER or provide a Certificate of Completion or Occupancy issued by RER. If you wish to verify that all inspection approvals have been obtained, you may call Permit Records at 786-315-2100 or view online at Certificate of Completion/Occupancy.
Additionally, you should request final release of liens from any individuals or firms who have provided labor, material or supplies, especially those who have sent you a “Notice to Owner” letter.
If the permit is active, it may be necessary for you to hire a new contractor to complete the work, or you may complete the work as an owner-builder, if you qualify. If the permit is expired, you may be required to obtain and extension or a permit reissue.
You may receive assistance regarding the status of your permit by creating an account through the online registration system (MeetQ) to meet with an Inspector Supervisor. Consults can be scheduled in-person, by phone, or virtually on the specified days and times listed on the MeetQ homepage.
You are applying for a building permit as an owner-builder. You should be advised of the provisions and requirements that apply to owner-builders. Read the Owner-Builder Disclosure Statement to learn more.
If your hired laborers cause any damage to persons or property, or if any of your hired laborers are injured on the job, you are liable. Your regular home insurance policy ordinarily does not cover this type of liability. Please check with your insurance agent.
You are required to erect an approved safety barrier around the property or pool. The safety barrier must also be inspected and approved.
Failure to comply will result in the issuance of a $500 ticket to you, the property owner.
Permits will expire and become null and void if work has not commenced within 180 days from permit issuance or has been suspended or abandoned at any time for a period of 180 days. Work must be in active progress when the permit has received an approved inspection within 180 days.
All construction work that requires a permit, must be inspected. It is the responsibility of the permit holder to leave the work accessible and exposed for inspection purposes.
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