Beverly Hills, FL asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida

Q: My spouse and I singed a contract in February to have an in ground fiberglass pool installed. As per the contract we

We paid 4000 to start and 36,000 for the pool shell. The next payment would have been for pavers and then a payment to finish the job. However, we found out that the new owner was not a lisenced contractor and had used the old owners name and lisece on the contract. This was reported to the state and they have been shut down for any construction projects. They never notified us of this, we only found out because we drove up there and spoke to an employee. They are not returning calls when we asked for mediation. They damaged the pool shell in multiple places which voided the warranty on the shell from San Juan (the fiberglass manufacturer). We were told this is due to contractor negligence. They also damaged our house in 2 places. And they never backfilled the pool. We are currently filing a claim with their insurance company. They also didn't get a permit. Since thave been shut down, are we still legally bound to the contract? We do not want them to come back after all this.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Pamela Marie Mori Holcombe
Pamela Marie Mori Holcombe
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Saint Augustine, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I am sorry to learn of this truly unfortunate situation. Needless to say, there are many moving parts resulting from this complex fact pattern, including the property damage to the home, the damage to the existing shell and voiding of the warranty, never mind the fact this entity appears to have been operating without being properly licensed. Certainly, there appear to be excellent grounds for termination of any agreement with this apparently disreputable contractor, however, the prudent move is to consult with experienced construction counsel to review the very specific facts, the terms and conditions of the contract, and any applicable statutory provisions.

There are likely a number of potential remedies, but getting good solid advice and strategy moving forward is the best move and there are considerations beyond mere termination. For instance, there is a state regulated fund that might, and I stress, might be available to cover some of your losses if this fly by night pool contractor does a runner, which sounds entirely possible, although the license issue complicates things. To have access to the fund, you must successfully sue and obtain a judgment, prevail in arbitration or in a complaint to the regulatory agency, none of which are DIY projects. The liability insurance, assuming that it accepts the claim after investigation (and lack of license may void the coverage) will only cover the damage to the home itself and not the damage to the pool shell, which is considered the work itself.

I wish you luck.

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