Legal Question in Construction Law in Florida

With a water leak destroying our kitchen and living room, our insurance company urged us to mitigate the damage ASAP. After a few days of plumbers blowing us off we found a contractor willing to get started immediately.

I signed a "Work Authorization" with them that I assumed (ugh) just covered the mitigation repairs, but now we see that he had scribbled in "mitigation + build back repairs" under "work to be performed" by the company.

It seems like this little phrase traps us into finishing the complete repairs ($10K+) with this company, despite the fact that there is no itemized list of work to be performed or mention of exactly what is to be "built back". Further, to cancel this contract we would need to pay upfront what is owed + 20% of the TOTAL insurance claim.

The reason we're considering breaking the contract is that they're vague about what they plan to do, they inflate each item reported to the insurance, and tell us we'll owe them "around $2K" above the claim. No matter what changes, we'll owe them.

Is it legal to write in "build back" on a Work Authorization, and does this bind us to any cost/work they dream up? Do we have any control/leverage here?

Asked on 10/08/13, 8:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

R. Jason de Groot R. Jason de Groot, P.A.

There must be a meeting of the minds in order to have a contract. We would need to see all relevant documents before giving an opinion.

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Answered on 10/10/13, 11:17 am

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