State Sanctioned Racketeering - MSFH

Once again the front page of Sunday’s Tampa Tribune was headlined the Storm of Problems homeowners have encountered entrusting themselves to approved, recommended and above all state licensed contractors to perform work outlined in the My Safe Florida Home Program.
Not only was the work in most cases substandard, shoddy & incomplete but in many instances it was priced higher then what could have been negotiated outside the program.

Hopefully the consumer has seen through the gimmick of “state licensing” in that it is in most cases a simply tool the state uses to favor a protected group of contractors who then get to control their competition and gouge the public.

This is just another glaring nail in the coffin that graphically depicts the failure of state licensing as a consumer protection tool, instead of protecting the consumer the state aided and abetted licensed contractors in crimes against the public, a very sad testimonial to licensing.

Any friends in the press to help pound that message home?

Joe B,

F*ing BULLSEYE!:cool:

The thing is that it didn’t have to be this way, back in 2005-2006 Governor Bush put together the Task Force on Long-Term Solutions for Florida’s Hurricane Insurance Market and they recommended allowing the consumer to work with both the inspectors & contractors within the state and the state would provide rebates for inspection & work completed.

Instead of following the Task Force’s recommendations the state created the My Safe Florida Home program complete with an entity called a WCE that would oversee inspections. Well by now you can imagine that the only one’s to benefit from all of this government tampering of the free enterprise system is the shoddy state-protected contractors and the WCE’s.

Just another clear example of what happens when choice is taken away from the people, and government is tasked to perform the work that free enterprise is designed to accomplish… Which is, deliver the best product at a competitive cost.

Rumor has it that the program is running out of money, hopefully the program will be seen for the sham that it is and the government will refuse to fund it further and it will die in obscurity.

I am writing in regards to Sunday’s May 19th front-page story about the failure of the My Safe Florida Home program and what was omitted from the story. There were probably many readers who breathed a sigh of relief because they had never become entangled in the MSFH program and did not have to suffer the financial loss as those who had trusted the state approved contractors, but unfortunately this is not entirely true.

Everyone who has purchased homeowners insurance in Florida is shouldering the burden of the MSFH program through the assessments that go directly to the state run Citizens insurance company. The 250 million dollars earmarked for the MSFH program could have been used to reduce the deficit to the catastrophe fund and all Florida homeowners would have benefited, this of course was not the case.

Furthermore it appears the issue with shoddy overpriced work by certified MSFH contractors might have been reduced had the state utilized the findings of the 2006 Task Force on Long-Term Solutions for Florida’s Hurricane Insurance Market which suggested the state utilize existing contractors & inspectors instead of creating a special class of contractor known as a Wind Certification Entity.

The promise of the program was if $1 was spent on mitigation it would save the citizens of Florida $4, based on the evidence thus far the program is an abject failure. Rumor has it the MSFH program is running out of money, hopefully based on what we now know the people of Florida will refuse to fund this program any further and it will be curtailed. This is just another clear example of what happens when choice is taken away from the people, and government is tasked to perform the work that free enterprise is designed to accomplish

Yours truly,

Joe Burkeson, Riverview
[FONT=Arial]For what it’s worth… Most of this letter to the editor made it into the Tuesady edition of the Tampa Tribune. [/FONT]

Nice letter Joe.

Licensing solves nothing.

Less gov is good gov. We can regulate our own industry, have been for years and years.

well said

I don’t live in Florida, nor am I familiar with the state’s laws.

But, I can see from the article that the problems with governmental insertion into the building trades and with contractor licensing is pretty much the same as here, in Illinois, and in most states.

When problems like this occur, people tend to look towards the “government” to make things right, to “protect the consumer”. This is the problem with the public’s perception and expectations.

State’s provide licenses, but the license does not always (or usually) actually mean anything.

“But it’s what program officials don’t emphasize that people need to know: If something goes wrong with the contractor’s performance, the program is not to blame.
Homeowners have to assume more responsibility in finding a reputable contractor, in part, because My Safe Florida Home and the state licensing agency for contractors don’t tell them everything they need to know.”

People assume, wrongly, that the state has some great qualifications test or requirements for contractors. As HIs know, this is rarely the case. As the above quote points out, the responsibility is on the home owner to “check up” on the contractor. But, as I am sure that most of you also know, the client does not, really, have any means to do so. They assume, also wrongly, that being on the state’s list is, in fact, a qualification. They assume that the state is doing their work for them.

“My Safe Florida Home officials don’t thoroughly check the backgrounds of contractors on their list, particularly when it comes to prior complaints or disciplinary action.
And the licensing agency, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, can take up to a year to investigate contractors, allowing the companies to continue working during that time.
The two agencies don’t share complaint information, further complicating the process.”

The above says it all, and it should be understood by the general public. One thing that home inspectors can do is to make this basic fact more understood by the public.

I am doing a couple of phased construction inspections for clients who are having their houses built. I, regularly, find defects and problems (no flashing above or around the windows, bad framing, bad roofing, bad plumbing, etc, often with the work done by unlicensed and unprofessional subs) but I have a very hard time convincing the client’s that the work is wrong.

"But how can the code inspectors let that pass? "
“But my Architect says that it is OK. Who are you to say different?”
“The contractors says that if you do it your way, it will cost too much.”

Too often, people assume that the government (either the state, or the local code guys) know better and will protect them.

I just write my findings up and give them, along with my recommendations, to the client. That is what they pay me to do.

I have had the client’s come back (three times, so far) and complain and try to get me to pay when the defects I have found cause problems. I just pont to my report and say, “I informed you of this problem about 8 moths ago. You chose to accept the work then. I am sorry for your misfortune, but, it would seem to me, you brought it on yourself.”

I would say that the general public brings on their own problems by relying, much to heavily, on the government to do their job for them.

But few people ever want to admit their own failings. Much easier to find a scapegoat and sue them, isn’t it? :mrgreen:

This is an area where HIs can really get more business. Educate the public.

Joe, maybe you could find a good reporter and have them do an article on this aspect of the problem.

How likely is it that wise and consumer friendly legislators have actually replaced the Governor Bush veto with an intention to refuse funding for the law that they know is wrong for Florida?

The education of the proletariat has resulted in the expectation of many that the “government” is supposed to “fix” everything.

Please be careful who you vote for.:wink: