Florida’s Financial Assistance Program for Homeowners Cheated by Contractors
TAMPA, Fla. — The team at 8 On Your Side recently brought to light the unfortunate situation of three Tampa homeowners who lost significant sums of money to a roofer who vanished without completing the work. While these homeowners have secured legal judgments against the fraudulent contractor, the battle to recover their money is far from over.
Investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi delved deeper into the limited avenues these homeowners have for financial redress.
A little-known $24 million fund is available for such victims, but tapping into it comes with stringent criteria. First and foremost, to be eligible, you must be a homeowner who has incurred financial loss. Importantly, this loss must stem from either the financial mismanagement or unethical actions of a licensed contractor. Another stipulation is that you must have explored and exhausted all other means of getting your money back. Essentially, this is a fund of last resort, meant for those who have no other options.
Brian Stayton, a board-certified attorney specializing in construction law, is all too familiar with these troubling scenarios. “The pool of victims is larger than you’d imagine; there’s less than 500 of us lawyers handling these types of cases statewide,” he said. Stayton devotes his practice to assisting individuals navigating the complexities that can arise following construction projects.
When probed about the frequency with which homeowners find themselves entangled in these distressing situations, Stayton offered a sobering perspective: “It happens way more often than you’d think or want to believe.”
This highlights the importance of the $24 million fund as a vital, though complicated, resource for homeowners caught in contractor scams. While it may be a last-ditch solution, for some, it may be the only path to financial recovery and closure.