One of the more disheartening things I have seen over the last few years as a personal injury attorney is a homeowner getting taken advantage of by an unscrupulous builder. It may genuinely be that the guy was (honest enough) just a poor business manager. But, even if poor business management is the cause, the contractor must certainly see the crash coming based on the events that give rise to the resulting catastrophe. This miscarriage of justice typically occurs when a homeowner looks to do a renovation on an existing home. It typically will involve a larger project such as adding a room, but it can involve much smaller ones as well. Perhaps, the smaller projects reach a resolution without the involvement of an injury lawyer. In either event, this is how the crisis has a tendency to play out:
The contractor and homeowner agree on a project. They agree on what is to be done and they agree on the price. The homeowner is required to pay to the contractor a large sum of money ($10,000, $20,000, or even $30,000) which will constitute a partial payment of the total project cost. The contractor brings supplies to the build site and performs some level of work. Often there will be some demolition. Then … NOTHING! Ultimately, the builder/contractor files bankruptcy and the homeowner is out of their money.
In this situation, the builder likely used some (or all) of your money to complete a preceding project and cannot secure a subsequent project in a timely fashion so that he can fulfill his obligation to you. Whether he ran out of money through poor bidding practices or spent too much of the money on himself is beside the point if you cannot get your money back. Avoid this by structuring your payouts to the builder in a way that protects you, the homeowner. Never give a large sum up front. If you are borrowing the money from the bank your banker should have someone who can help you coordinate this. Your banker may also be familiar with the builder. Of course, a consultation with a local attorney experienced in these matters can be money very well spent.
Best wishes to you on your next project and may you receive the full benefit of any project for which you pay!
If you or someone you know has been involved in a similar crisis – contact our team of attorneys in Huntsville or Athens today by calling (256) 539-4464 or completing a case evaluation form online. Our law firm is here to protect you and help you avoid or minimize any damages.
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