One portion of Bill 408 that we as attorneys do not necessarily dislike is found in Stat 627.707(5)(d). This new portion of the Bill states that homeowners may not receive rebates from contractors who do the repairs at their home. This has been a practice going on for some time now in Florida. Contractors will give homeowners some money back, before or after the work is done, in exchange for hiring them. The legislature has become aware of this practice and has come down hard on it with Bill 408. The new language states that if it discovered that a homeowner took a rebate from their contractor, that homeowners insurance policy will become void, coverage will be withdrawn and the homeowner will be forced to repay the rebate to the insurance company. On top of that, Bill 408 criminalizes this practice as the contractors who are found to have offered these rebates will be charged with a third degree felony for insurance fraud.
We hope that homeowners are not engaging in this practice and we would certainly discourage any form or type of insurance fraud but, for those homeowners who are reading his at home and have accepted a rebate, be aware of the drastic and vengeful consequences that may face you. For those homeowners who have been offered a rebate and are debating taking it, we hope this post will help you make your decision. For contractors that have offered or paid rebates to homeowners, you should be mindful of this new Bill more than anyone.