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More and More Builder Liens
Saturday, 28 March 2009

Homeowners troubled by builder liens
“We moved in January, and about two weeks later, we got our first claim to lien,” Renee Hoffman said. The lien was for work that Wilshire Homes should have paid for during construction.  The Hoffmans said the company told them it was an isolated incident. “They said all debt on the house was paid for, all vendors were paid,” James Hoffman said.

Homeowners troubled by builder liens
Friday, March 27, 2009
By Christine Haas / 11 News

HOUSTON—There’s a sense of fulfillment that comes with home ownership – at least, that’s what James and Renee Hoffman always dreamed of.

But the happiness they found within the walls of their Wilshire-built home ended with one certified mail delivery.

“We moved in January, and about two weeks later, we got our first claim to lien,” Renee Hoffman said.

The lien was for work that Wilshire Homes should have paid for during construction.  The Hoffmans said the company told them it was an isolated incident.

“They said all debt on the house was paid for, all vendors were paid,” James Hoffman said.

“He said this was all a mistake. Those were his words – quote – ‘It was a mistake,’” Renee Hoffman said.

A few weeks later, the Hoffmans say more liens showed up.

Now, an electrical contractor, a fence supplier and  an appliance company  are all naming Wilshire Homes and the Hoffmans in liens totaling almost $8,000.

Those liens should be covered by the couple’s title insurance, but if the insurance company doesn’t do that, the Hoffmans could become responsible for the money.

Wilshire Homes didn’t want to talk to 11 News on camera about this story, but they did issue a statement.

“Wilshire Homes is currently in negotiations with its vendors to restructure its payments to the satisfaction of those vendors and the release of any and all liens,” the statement read.

The company said the failing economy is behind its financial problems.  But the state agency charged with enforcing laws over construction says exposing homeowners to liens after purchasing a home is a crime.

 “We’ve seen a lot of calls some in over the last two months about ‘My builder says he’s going to declare bankruptcy,’ or ‘My builders have filed – what do I do?’” TRCC President Duanne Wuadill said.

Wuadill said as the economy slows, this problem will grow.

It leaves new homeowners like the Hoffmans wondering how a purchase they spent a decade preparing for could end up like this.

“We did it right. We did the right steps. We didn’t jump into something we couldn’t do,” Renee Hoffman said.

Now, they’re left wondering if Wilshire Homes can say the same.

http://www.txcn.com/sharedcontent/dws/txcn/houston/stories/khou090327_tnt_liens.783d4cb6.html

 
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