A Tacoma family hoping to build their dream home is left with nothing more than a giant hole in their backyard. They gave their contractor more than 50-thousand dollars to do the work, and he didn’t deliver.
Dennis and Shannon Roque were promised a beautiful addition to their Tacoma home that would more than double it in size.
“We wanted three to four additional bedrooms, a master bath and another bathroom,” Dennis explained.
But $58,000 later, they’re left with a giant hole.
“We’ve looked at that empty hole for over 6 months,” Dennis said.
That hole in their yard, and their wallet, was left by contractor Jim Brown of AG Homes and Construction LLC. Before any ground was broken, the Roques did their research. At least, they thought they did.
“We looked at Labor and Industries, made sure he was licensed and bonded,” Shannon explained.
The Roques gave the business more than $50,00 dollars, which was roughly half of the total estimate for the job. But months went by, and no work was done.
“I’d just had enough,” Dennis said. “So, I said you either need to show up or you need to give me my money back. So sure enough, the next day, he was out here flagging stuff, starting to dig the hole. They finally poured the foundation the week before Christmas 2017.”
After the holidays, the Roques got another present they didn’t want.
“We get this certified letter from the subcontractor saying that the contractor we hired never paid them, and they threatened to put a lien on our house,” Dennis said.
According to Labor and Industries, Brown’s registration was suspended halfway through the Roques’ job because his $12,000 bond had been claimed. No bond and no registration meant the Roques were left with no protection.
“Unfortunately for the Roques, another harmed consumer did claim that bond, so somebody did get that protection,” Jesse Jameson from Labor and Industries explained.
Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:
Labor and Industries said don’t ever risk more than the contractor’s bond.
“I would recommend making payments incremental to work being performed,” Jameson explained. “So if a contractor has a $12,000 bond, I wouldn’t risk any more than $10,000.”
And remember — timing of your research is everything. The Roques did their research in August, just before they paid Jim.
“When Mr. Brown submitted the bid in March of 2017, he indeed was not registered as a contractor,” Jameson said. “Contractors are required to be registered with L&I even before submitting a bid.”
Since Brown’s registration is still suspended, Dennis and Shannon’s dream home will have to wait.
“I have a little 6-year-old who sleeps in our bed because he has no room,” Dennis explained. “Our middle kid sleeps on the couch, and our oldest sleeps in a cramped loft upstairs.”
“It’s just frustrating every day, just because it’s not happening,” Shannon said.
The Roques are weighing their legal options. L & I fined Jim Brown for submitting a bid without being registered. I contacted Jim about this situation, and he told us he doesn’t plan on having a business again. He sent us a statement that says, in part: “Sometimes businesses have hardships and when those hardships happen, try to rectify the situation.” He goes on to say: “The other party is not willing to work with anything to come up with a reasonable solution in the end.”