For new construction homes, it is common for the buyer to move in with a remaining punch list of items that the builder will finish after closing. Even with the best builder, there is usually something, whether it is found before closing or after they moved in. These outstanding tasks are usually promptly completed within a month of closing – but Fiffik Law Group Attorney Adie Kurtanich’s client’s tasks were blown off for over a year.
After a 65-year-old man and his wife purchased and moved into a new construction home in Pittsburgh, they still needed significant work completed such as properly grading the yard, putting in the driveway, and finishing the landscaping. These items – which are very standard – were included in the New Construction Sales Agreement contract. However, over a year later, the work still had not been completed, and the builder had stopped responding to all calls and emails.
“With the way the construction market is right now, and the high demand of various subcontractors, not having a home 100% complete is fairly common today,” Attorney Kurtanich said. “But imagine moving into a new home, and the builder doesn’t put in the driveway for a year. That’s just ridiculous.”
Not only is this situation unlawful as it is a clear breach of contract, but it is also unsafe. If a yard is not properly graded, then the ground can erode and damage the foundation of the home.
Before contacting Attorney Kurtanich, the man was prepared to sue the builder and hire someone else to do the work. The remaining work was estimated at a minimum of $15,000, but with a price ceiling of $30,000+. If he had to sue the builder on top of that, it would have cost a minimum of $5,000, but most likely much more. To avoid these exorbitant costs, Attorney Kurtanich first wrote the builder a letter to give him a final chance to complete the work before her client filed a formal lawsuit. Upon receipt of the letter, the builder immediately began to work on the outstanding items, so no lawsuit was necessary.
All said and done, it only took the builder 10 days to complete the outstanding items that should have – and easily could have – been taken care of a year ago.
“That tells me that they were just blowing off my client because they thought they could,” Attorney Kurtanich said.
It should not have taken a letter from an attorney for the man to receive the construction services he was owed, but unfortunately, there are always going to be people who will try to take advantage of others. In cases like these, you need experienced legal representation to advocate for you and ensure your rights are protected. Fiffik Law Group's mission is to provide access to justice for all. If you are interested in becoming a LegalShield® member, learn more here. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.