JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When Robert and Angela Everly had 18 solar panels of potential back up power installed at their home, it was supposed to improve their lives.
"When we bought it, we thought power would come on when the storm hits," Robert Everly said. "But it does not work like that."
What the solar plant in their backyard did was produced a whole set of problems that could cost them their Nassau County home.
"They began the job then they abandoned the job," Angela Everly said.
During September 2016, the couple signed a $22,000 contract with American Solar Energy, LLC. of Lakeland to install the panels.
"It is just unbelievable," he said. "I mean we work hard for what we have and we just would never allow a thing like this to happen."
What has happened to them is now taking place with a number of families, perhaps a dozen or less.
"We had no clue this was coming,' she said.
On January 8, they were sued. It was a Mechanic's Lien lawsuit for $8,400. The plaintiff is one of the American Solar Energy, LLC's suppliers, UMA Distributors.
"They told us we could actually lose our house if we don't have the $8,400," he said.
This money was already paid to their contractor. The work was financed and the check was sent to the company. But apparently, the supplier was not paid.
"It is a very difficult situation if you're not familiar with it," said Zack Roth, an attorney with the Ansbacher Law. His strengths are in real estate law. He is very familiar with Florida's Mechanic's Lien law.
"Unfortunately you can lose your home if they filed a claim of lien within the proper timeline and their lawsuit, and they have not been paid, they can win," he said.
Roth said they're certain defenses against the law, but it is not for the homeowner. It is for an attorney to take it to court.
The Everlys said they can't afford a lawyer, but they have too much to lose and they will fight to save their home.
"We don't own a lot but we worked hard to get this," he said.
American Solar Energy, LLC is state registered and it has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau. Ed Taylor is the owner/operator.
"I sold my business and they defaulted and now I am having to file bankruptcy," he said.
Taylor said he was left saddled with $200,000 in debt.
"I did not abandon these customers, I did not know," Taylor said. "It makes me sick. There's nothing I can do."
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation is looking into their case. They plan to meet with the Ansbacher Law Firm.
On Your Side Tip: Always get a signed waiver of lien from a contractor. It will protect you from a mechanic's lien claim.