What can we learn from the Property Brother’s lawsuit?
HGTV’s Property Brother’s production company has been hit with a lawsuit from a couple, home-owner’s/contestant on the popular home renovation show. The couple, Paul and Mindy King, claim that the renovations featured in their home, on the reality show were shoddy. They made reference to exposed wires, improperly hung doors, wrong backsplash, and not all renovations done performed up to code. Poor people, they put too much emphasis on the word “reality” in term, “reality TV” LOL.
So, what can we learn from this rookie mistake?
The Florida construction aka mechanics lien laws (part of the Florida homestead situation) is an important concept to understand. Our homestead laws protect our primary residences from any creditor claims (except consensual liens such as mortgages, liens for real estate taxes, IRS tax liens and mechanics’ and constructions’ liens for work performed at the home.)
The Florida’s construction lien law is intended to provide recourse to those who provided work, labor or materials on a construction project. The lien law generally allows contractors, as well as subcontractors, laborers, certain design professionals, sub-subcontractors and material suppliers to file a Florida mechanics lien. There are multiple problematic scenarios that can arise under this law. For example, should a general contractor not pay his subcontractors, the subcontractors may put a lien on the homeowner’s homestead. Additionally, Florida does not require written contracts in order to file a lien claim; oral contracts along with proof of work are sufficient for filing a Florida construction lien. Of course, there are multiple requirements (such as service and timely notice to the owner) for the mechanic/contractor to file a valid lien claim in Florida.
For this reason, it’s MUY IMPORTANTE to read your home improvement contracts VERY CAREFULLY and/or get an attorney friend to review it for you! Do a little research (don’t be stalkerish) about your service provider’s reviews and ask for a few recommendations of previous work. You may also want to consider having the contractor sign the ever-elusive waiver-of-lien agreement prior to starting the work. Even if the contract is silent as to the mechanics lien language, the rule is “in the books” as they say and applies to all home improvement projects.
There you have it, mechanic’s lien law in a nutshell.
Now, back to the Property Brothers……the attorneys for the production company said that the Kings didn’t allow them access to the property to make the minor corrections as requested by the Kings over a year after production, “in what appears to be an attempt to secure a substantial monetary settlement, the Kings have engaged in a negative publicity campaign against the Brothers. It is unfortunate that the Kings have resorted to such conduct.”
I stand corrected, maybe the Kings are better suited for Reality TV than I had initially thought LOL.