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Action 9: Homeowners punished for paying their bills

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orange County family just found out how a controversial Florida law could force you to pay twice for any work done on your home and it happens after you paid the contractor in full.

There's a new roof on their Orange County home, a roof the owners were told they had to pay for twice.

“At this time I'm panicked. My husband and I are in a panic," said Carmen Perez.

Perez said she and her husband, Salvador, paid Scenic View Construction nearly $10,000 after their roof was replaced.

Later, a supply company filed a lien against them because a contractor never paid for the shingles.

“I'm thinking, 'Oh, my God. He ran off with the money,'" said Perez.

Florida's Construction Lien Law allows unpaid subcontractors and suppliers to lien your home even though you paid in full. Unless you pay a second time, the company could foreclose to collect.

“That's why I'm so upset that this law could allow people to take advantage of us,” said Perez, who called Action 9 for help.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich found Scenic View's address is a home near Clermont. The owner's wife came to the door.

“They say he didn't pay for shingles,” said Ulrich.

“Yeah, I know that. I'm trying to get him on the phone,” said Sean Oldham’s wife.

Ulrich reached Oldham by phone, who blamed a subcontractor he hired for the job.

“I found out four weeks later he never paid for materials,” said Oldham.

"Thehe Perezs wrote a check to you. It was your contract. You took the money," said Ulrich.

“I understand that,” said Oldham.

Even though Oldham still blamed his sub, Infinity Construction, for stiffing the supplier, he paid off the shingles a week later and the lien is now satisfied, and there won’t be any more threats against the couple who had paid in full.

“We always pay on time. We’re good citizens,” said Perez.

Oldham supplied documents showing he had paid the subcontractor but Infinity Construction denies that.

Before you pay a contractor, insist on getting a written release of lien from all subcontractors and suppliers.