Builder's money woes call for swift action

THE BALTIMORE SUN

I believe our contract is in violation of the Custom Home Protection Act. We're down at our last straw.

There's only $20,000 left in the bank. I have found that [the builder] owes over $40,000 to [subcontractors].

I would like to know what I need to do to pursue this violation of the Custom Home Protection Act.

I don't know who I should go to, to have this investigated.

Laura Bortle, Bishopville

Dear Ms. Bortle:

Maryland's Custom Home Protection Act requires a builder to use progress payments to pay subcontractors and other expenses related to the construction of the home.

In your situation, it looks as if the remaining progress payments won't be sufficient to pay the subcontractors.

When subcontractors are not paid, they usually don't work. So the completion of your home may be in jeopardy.

Because of the complexity of your case and the need for quick action, you can't rely on any state watchdog to protect your rights. You need to consult a lawyer, the sooner the better.

The main goal should be to make sure your home gets completed, and that you don't end up paying more than the $20,000 remaining to finish construction.

You probably should not pay the builder any more money without adequate assurances that he can complete the project.

The law is on your side in this matter.

There are both civil liability and criminal penalties for violations of the Custom Home Protection Act.

Hopefully, the builder will take his legal obligations seriously, and make sure you get what you paid for.

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