Action 9

Action 9: Florida law causes homeowner to pay twice for roofing job

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. — A woman selling her home in Winter Garden claims a Florida law made her pay for her new roof twice.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich spoke with Natalie Rak, who said she was the victim of a bad roofer and the construction lien law that could put any homeowner at risk.

“We are fairly intelligent people and it's embarrassing that we got taken,” said Rak.

Rak hired Sustainable Roof Systems and licensed contractor Robert Mack to reroof her home.

Rak said the roofer found hail damage, and took over the homeowner’s insurance claim, saying he would handle everything.

“I thought, ‘Why doesn't everybody do this?’ It sounded too good to be true,” said Rak.

With insurance coverage, she paid for the new roof in full, but then ABC Supply filed a lien against her home because the roofer never paid for the shingles. So she had to pay another $7,000.

Rak complained to Sustainable Roof.

“I called three times a week and every time I was told, ‘No, no, no. It's all been taken care of,’” said Rak.

The contractor never cleared up the lien.

Florida's construction lien law is stacked against consumers. If a supplier or subcontractor isn't paid, they can file liens against the home and force the homeowner to pay twice.

Rak had to pay the extra $7,000 to remove the lien so she could sell her home.

Sustainable Roof Systems has a website, but its Clermont office is just a drop box.

Five families filed state complaints against Mack, and his contractor’s license was recently suspended.

That was too late for Rak, who blames the roofer and Florida law.

“This was a very expensive lesson for our family,” she said.

A homeowner should get lien waivers from any contractor and supplier before making final payments.

That can protect the consumer, but it still remains a complicated and risky process.