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Florida Construction Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Who is liable for pool access safety when the contractor fills the pool but construction is not finished?
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Oct 8, 2020

Both the contactor and the homeowner are potentially liable.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Criminal Law and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: How long do I have to return a customers deposit. I've had a stroke (cause for delay). Is it criminal?

Its been a few months and now the customer has threatened to involve police. Is there a procedure they have to follow that could protect me? I want to return their funds but they no longer respond to me. Not sure if i should Venmo or zelle back their funds.. Should I send their money to them,... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Sep 27, 2020

No, it's not criminal. Send them a check by certified mail.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: My pool contractor keeps telling me he will not finish the coping until 2 months later and the pool has not been touched

It’s been 6 weeks with nothing done and their excuse is we have other pools we are working on, is that a claim they can say to not work on my pool legally

My other question is when does the time start for my pool to be completed if we signed a contract on April 1 let and made deposit, the... Read more »

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron answered on Aug 19, 2020

The pool contractor's deadline is solely based on the contract language, and if there is no language about that, then based on a "reasonable" time to complete the job. Your issue is common with pool contractors, as well as other types of home construction contractors. You should... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law and Land Use & Zoning for Florida on
Q: Construction project severely affecting traffic and subsequent revenue of businesses in my shopping center

Construction project in front of the shopping center where my restaurant is located has been obstructing traffic to the point that during certain times of the day there is 1 lane width of an entrance meant to double as an exit, causing congestion and frustration for all patrons. We are unable to... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Aug 17, 2020

IMO, you are wasting your time complaining about road construction improvements ("progress") not controlled by either your city or your county government. The State of Florida, Department of Transportation has statutory authority to do whatever it thinks needs to be done when improving... Read more »

Q: Can I sue for condemned condo?

We rent a condominium in Aventura, FL. Recently we had an electrical inspection, where the result was the condo being condemned. The owner wants to sell instead of repair the problems. Is there anything we can do?

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Aug 13, 2020

Unless you have a written lease that says otherwise, you are not obligated to pay any more rent because you will be required to move. If you do have a written lease you can be sure the landlord will not renew it because he cannot do that if the condo is condemned. Finally, suing is possible, but... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Client's lawyer demanding we finish his project he has needlessly delayed. We responded but haven't heard from them

In our letter, I told him to get a separate permit for an illegal roof repair he did while we were doing his addition; urged him to get his flooring and cabinets as we had previously agreed; and went over all the work that he privately contracted with our subs behind our backs that he is now... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Aug 8, 2020

This sounds to me like a Mexican standoff coupled with a "B" rated chick flick. So rather than try to answer a question that hasn't been asked all I will do is advise you--the general contractor--to stop playing lawyer and hire one-quick. The lawyer you hire will probably tell you... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Construction Law and Contracts for Florida on
Q: Can I talk to the General Contractor? New home builder contract says all construction questions must be at Sales Office

OK

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Aug 8, 2020

Wouldn't hurt to try. Doing so wouldn't constitute a breach of contract, if that's what you're wondering.

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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Florida on
Q: How long does a contractor have to complete a job in Florida?

We signed a contract in late 2019 for a bathroom remodel. We paid a lot up front. They promised the job would be done within 6 weeks. They demolished the bathroom months ago and still haven’t gotten a permit approved, 9 months later, due to their errors.

Edited to answer question: At the... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Jul 30, 2020

What does the contract say?

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law and Personal Injury for Florida on
Q: Are there any laws that make it illegal to have an AC unit in the attic?

A person injured trying to stop a leak.... they climbed into the attic on multiple occasions over the years to store items and knew not to step on the drywall. The person was injured coming down the ladder when the ceiling caved in and was told by a healthcare worker that had a friend that... Read more »

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron answered on Jul 20, 2020

The issue of whether there is liability for the injuries described and the issue of whether it was legal for the A/C unit to be installed in the attic are two separate issues, though if it was illegal, it could be one factor (amongst others) in the negligence analysis. Your local government... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Can I sue a contractor for “unreasonable delays” on a home improvement?

My condo was flood in December 2019. Kitchen was destroyed. After 3 months finally got insurance money to fix home. Hired a contractor in March. Agreed on price and put down 50% to get job started. He said he will let me know start date. After almost three more months of waiting he says July 13... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Jul 17, 2020

Sure, but not before the contractor has caused some actual damages. Spending too much time to complete a construction job is not actionable. Moreover, no that the work has started the contractor can put a mechanics lien against you house that must be paid someday, or you will not be able to sell it.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Construction Law and Landlord - Tenant for Florida on
Q: Can a manager/contractor enter my apartment without providing ID in Florida?

I begged my landlord to repair apartment, they refused till I threatened to withhold, I don't think anyone has experience answering questions regarding the fact that masked people are at my door refusing to provide ID so I am removing this question, please do not comment further.

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 28, 2020

Unless you OWN the apartment you should not ever refuse access to the owner to make simple repairs to THEIR property. Your written lease probably has a clause in it that says what I just said.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Work incorrect, unfinished

I gave contractor money for work that was completed incorrectly and will need to be redone, and money upfront for future work. Since he had never been back to my with several reasons and has only talked to me when I initiated contact. Because of this I told him to refund me and cease work. I told... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 20, 2020

There is no special way to settle any case. The non-disparagement clause is pretty much standard in all settlement agreements; and you are being foolish to risk not receiving your refund by insisting on your "right" to bad-mouth the other side on social media. Perhaps the other party will... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Can a pool contractor sue after we fire them?

The pool contractor tried to get money out of us that was not apart of the contract and said it had to be done for inspection. They pre-plumbed the pool then said it had to be ripped out, at our cost or said we would need to pay for an upgraded heater. The county inspector said that they were lying... Read more »

Jeffrey Snyder
Jeffrey Snyder answered on Apr 28, 2020

Can they file a mechanic's lien? Sure. Will they? No way to tell. Is it a legitimate lien? Again, you will need to hire a construction lawyer to look at all documents and facts involved.

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: I contracted with a Florida licensed roofing contractor. Is he allowed to sub my job to another roofer?

My contract is with 'abc roofing'.

'xyz roofing' pulled the permit with a different business name and contractor.

Is this legal?

Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron answered on Feb 21, 2020

Whether a contractor, in any business, can sub-contract out work without first conferring with the customer depends on the language of your contract. However, it's not necessarily the case that "xyz" is a sub-contractor of "abc". In the construction/renovation industry,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Construction Law and Small Claims for Florida on
Q: I have a contract to have flooring installed. The contractor has not come to complete the job. It has been months.

The contractor said he has a health issue, a boil on his butt...

I have also a contract with this same person to have vapor barrier installed. He said he would do it, but I have not seen him since September. What can I do?

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Feb 1, 2020

Send him a letter by certified mail that the contract is cancelled for non-performance on his part. Then find another contractor.

1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law and Real Estate Law for Florida on
Q: a lawn service put a construction lein on property i rent say i own money when i don't. how do i fight it.
Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Nov 27, 2019

If I understand your question correctly, you are the tenant, not the owner. So what do you care?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: as a qualifying agent for a licensed building contractor in florida can i write a contract in my name with their license

and or have no payment made to them just to me and any other trades involved

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Nov 11, 2019

No, of course you can't do that.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Does a builder have to escrow non-refundable deposits when they build less then 10 homes per year? See statute 501.1375

Also, the client owns the land already where the home was to be constructed.

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on Nov 1, 2019

Without spending any time reviewing the statute mentioned here I will point out the obvious: If the deposit is "non-refundable" then it is probably NOT covered under the statute cited.

Having said that I feel that I would be remiss in not presenting this free practical...
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1 Answer | Asked in Construction Law for Florida on
Q: If a contractor has finished work but the inspection has not been done, am I obligated to make final payment?

They are asking for the final payment but I want to cover myself in case it does not pass inspection.

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Oct 3, 2019

Of course it depends upon the terms of the contract. If the contract doesn't say, think about putting the money in escrow pending inspection approval.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Construction Law for Florida on
Q: Barn door on bid set, but builder is trying to say that we are responsible for purchasing and installing it ourselves.

When we first began our construction process, the floor plans had a bi-fold door on the laundry room in the master bedroom. I had that door changed to a barn door a few months later. The barn door was added to the floor plan BEFORE the budget and final floor plans were signed into contract. In... Read more »

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard answered on Oct 3, 2019

From what you write, it appears that you are in the right. But the contractor may very well have their own side of the argument. In any event, you failed to ask a question.

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