DEAR MR. MELTZER: My family had grown to the point where we were all squeezed together. Someone told me about an "inexpensive" builder and I hired him to put an addition onto my house.
The job was horrendous! Yesterday the city inspector arrived and advised us that the builder had not obtained a building permit and there are so many violations that the addition will probably have to be torn down.
To make matters worse, if possible, the builder has threatened us with a law suit for non-payment of his bill. Have we any recourse?
ANSWER: It is implied in all such contracts that the builder will have supplied himself with the necessary permits and that the job will have to be done in accordance with local building ordinances In my opinion, a builder who has neglected this implied warranty is not entitled to payment.
What's more, if you had sought legal advice before entering into the contract, you might very well have avoided this painful experience.
DEAR MR. MELTZER: We moved into a beautiful new house last January and love everything about it, except for one important thing: the heating system just wasn't capable of keeping the house warm enough. We also found that the electrical fuses were constantly blowing.
Though we complained to the builder for months, he never came around to look into it. He claimed he was very busy and that we should find someone to correct the problem. He even offered to pay the bill.
Now that winter is approaching, we don't know what to do. We don't want to go through that again. As you know, we had a bitter cold winter last year, and the thought of walking around with heavy sweaters on is too much. Shall we take his advice and call in someone on who own to rectify this?
ANSWER: Your house obviously has a poorly designed and installed heating and electrical system. Your builder's suggestion about your securing your own mechanic is a dodge. If you follow his suggestion the builder can tell you that your man ruined the system.
You must make a demand in writing to the builder for the necessary corrections. If he does not reply, you will have to obtain legal advice.