My husband and I have recently finished construction of a home in Washington County, MD -- no thanks to the buider we hired: Nathan Quinones, trading as Rock Creek Homes.
We have spent the past 10 months in pure hell because of this builder. We chose a small builder, a personable guy, who was looking to build a custom home. We checked his references, looked at work he had done in the past, the bank checked his credit and supplier references. You would think we covered our bases.
To make a long story short, we started the house in May of 1999 with a completion date of Sept 1999. I can't possibly detail in this short report what happened to us, but we finally fired him in Nov 1999 after several months of subcontractors not being paid, bounced checks to suppliers, work not finished, lies, lies, and more lies. In the end, we double paid around $30,000 of subcontractors/suppliers. In short, this builder contracted work for our house/site, took our money and never paid most of the subcontractors/suppliers.
In order to finish the house and convert the construction loan to a permanent mortgage, lien free, we were forced to make good on these debts.
We contacted a civil attorney who advised us to contact the States Attorney's Office. We did so and an investigation was started by the Maryland State Police. Recently the builder was charged with violation of a section of the Custom Home Builders Act, a step in the right direction. What infuriates us is that the State Attorney's office is basically telling us to be prepared to get very little restitution and that the criminal charges will probably be reduced to a misdemeanor. According to the law, the subcontractors and suppliers were contracted by the builder, so we really weren't obligated to pay them. But, if we didn't pay them, they could put a lien on the mortgage. And if a lien was put on the mortgage, we couldn't get any more draws to complete the house or to convert it to a permanent loan. Kind of a "Catch22", wouldn't you say? As for the reduction of a criminal offense to misdemeanor, it was indicated to us that the basic feeling most judges in Washington County, Maryland (and other areas) is that this is not a criminal act, but a civil dispute and doesn't belong in the criminal court system. In addition, most builders don't really know about these laws, and ignorance is equivalent to innocence.
In other words, it is legal for a builder to steal $30,000 from you. EXCUSE ME????