(WSVN) - In Florida, Ygrene has loaned the money for many South Floridians to get solar panels, a new roof, on and on, but then after approving loans, they just stopped, leaving homeowners unable to pay for work already done. That’s when they turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Her name is appropriate.

Elli Fink: “She started saying ‘pretty bird’ on her own.”

She also chose to live with Elli and her husband.

Elli Fink: “Birdie flew into my husband’s truck while he was at work one day, and he decided to adopt him.”

The bird’s arrival was unusual. A problem Elli suddenly has is not.

Elli Fink: “So it was just a no-brainer for me when I was doing my roof to go ahead and apply through Ygrene.”

Back in September, Elli and her husband decided to install a gray metal roof. They contacted Ygrene, which many people in Florida do, to finance it.

Elli Fink: “If you’re not familiar with Ygrene, they’re added into your tax rolls, so it’s affordable. The rates were good, and it’s a monthly payment.”

When the Finks signed the contract, Ygrene wrote, “Your contractor has been approved to begin work,” and the roofers went to work.

Elli Fink: “Gorgeous. All the neighbors love it.”

Elli was smiling, until she called Ygrene to make sure the roofing company got paid for their work.

Elli Fink: “And the woman on the phone said, ‘Yes, we’re pulling out of Florida.’ I said, ‘No, but you don’t understand. I’m already approved. You contacted my contractor. We’re good to go. I have a contract. I do, I do.'”

Elli owed the roofer $40,000, and Ygrene wasn’t going to pay it.

Elli Fink: “I think it’s a disaster. I know that I’m not the only one in the situation.”

In fact, several people called Help Me Howard after they lost their Ygrene financing.

Then, when Elli started looking for a new lender, she found out they wanted to charge twice the interest rate Ygrene had agreed to charge.

Elli Fink: “Eighteen percent, and of course, that wasn’t doable.”

It’s a beautiful roof … that hasn’t been paid for.

Elli Fink: “I want it. I want to go back to the financing that I agreed to. I want the terms that I agreed to.”

But Howard, does a company that agrees to finance a project have to follow through and provide that financing?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Yes, they do, but if they back out, there is very little you can do. If you sue, a judge cannot order a company to finance a project, but can order a lender to pay any extra costs you incurred finding other financing. The best thing you can do? Try to find other financing or contact Help Me Howard like Elli did.”

I spoke to Ygrene’s attorney, who was an enormous help. He told me he found three companies willing to finance it at the same rate Ygrene was charging.

Elli chose one.

Elli Fink: “So renewal came in and honored the financing that Ygrene offered, 7.9%, and I was thrilled with that.”

One company flew the coop. Another flew in to help, after Elli called Help Me Howard.

Elli Fink: “Patrick stayed in contact through the whole time, finding out step by step as it was being resolved, and I couldn’t have been happier. What a great person.”

Glad we could help you, and as Howard said, sometimes the only solution for a problem is suing in court, which is expensive. That’s why we always say, do research before you hire someone. Add to that, do research on the lender and the type of financing as well.

A problem left you hitting the roof? Let us pay a visit, see if we can patch things up.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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