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Question DetailsAsked on 3/11/2018

modular home was delivered and set up but contractor took off

Simplex Modular homes delivered and set up home. Builder was to complete rest of work such as roofing, siding, electrical, plumbing and landscaping but never returned. Certified letters were sent to builder and never responded. Builder was paid by the bank to complete all required work. House is now sitting unfinished. We have contacted Attorney General office and consumer protection. We hired an attorney and contacted another builder recommended by attorney but new contractor is asking $5,000 for estimate.

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2 Answers


You know, you say roofing, siding, electrical, plumbing, etc still have to be done - unless you mean just the connections and splice areas, does not sound like a modular home to me like I have seen - they come complete except for the connections and splices needed where the panels and modules go tegether.

ASnyway, work through your attorney - but one main protection for you is the contractor's Bond, which (assuming you had a firm scope of work and price in the contract with him) should pay for the completion of the work to be done at no increase in contract price to you, even if the completion costs some thousands of $ additional to the original contract amount.

It is also possible the contractor's general business liability or Inland Marine (whichever form he has) insurance can be attacked on the basis of fraud.

Also, if the contractor was affiliated with or obtained by/through Simplex, you may have a possible claim against them.

New contractor asking $5000 for a bid - he has to be joking. Should be no more than a few hundred $ at most - and in my book, unless coming to the site from some distance away, bids should be at no charge to you - certainly in this sort of case where (presumably) there is already a firm scope of work from the original contract so just a matter of him figuring (with your concurrence on coming up with a revised scope of work) what is left to be done and if any of the first contractor's work is left to be done.

Are you sure that was for an estimate - or was that actually a deposit amount he would require at contract signing ? Though an awful lot to finish a modular home installation, assuming the foundation is complete - unless that includes well/septic or a long run of water and sewer piping too, because commonly once it is set up you are looking a one or a couple of $10,000 to finish the job off.

Bear in mind - if you get another contractor on the job, other than for necessary weather protection so the unit does not degrade, starting work before getting the contractor's bonding/insurance company into the act might affect your recovery efforts. At least, an official survey ofthe work done to date and that undone should be done by a professional engineer or architect, formally documented with video/photos and report, before anything is modified.

One other thing - depending on what state you live in, there is a possibility of tapping a state consumer protection fund for people jilted by contractors - check on that and whether he was properly licensed at state contractor licensing board website.

Oh - and while at it, check if permits (building, planning and zoning, any applicable environmental ones, etc) are properly in hand and paid for - that responsibility may fall back on Simplex and/or the builder.

And bear in mind, depending on contract terms (though if he defaulted they may not protect him now), you may be eligible (if actually able to recover from him or his bonding or insurance company, which is different than getting a judgement against him) for not only costs to complete the job but possibly reasonable temporary living expenses from original completion date in the contract till it is done, and possible special or punitive damages.

Good Luck

Answered 2 years ago by LCD


Oh - three after-thoughts after I reread the as-posted answer:

- reasonable costs of protecting the home (tarping, fencing, minimal earhtwork to keep it from surface flooding if final grading/landscaping was supposed to do that, perhaps even security system, perhaps even temporary power and sump pump [with heat if necessary] to prevent basement flooding if it has a basement) might also be includable in your claim against his bond or insurance company.

- if you had homeowner's or construction phase insurance on the new home (should have) then you may also be eligible for a claim (subject to deductible of course) for recovery of any amounts he fraudently kept for work he did not do, any damages as a result of him abandoning job until you could reasonably protect it, any theft/vandalism losses, also commonly for protection of the property till completed by another contractor. They would then try to recover from him, his bonding company, insurance, etc for anything they paid you. Conditions out the wazoo and generally property would only be covered for about 30 days with work ceased before new contractor comes on board, so attorney would have to hassle through coverage with them and you and probably an independent damage appraiser. His bond/insurance would normally be first claim places, but since you are experiening a potentially covered loss, failing to bring them into the loop right off (in cooperation with your attorney) might cause you to lose potential valuable coverage. Your policy would NOT cover completing the job - the actual cost of the construction would be out of your funds just as if the job did not have a hitch, but direct damages resulting from the breach by the contractor might be.

- if the bank was holding the money in escrow or a construction bridge loan account and released it to the contractor without your authorization or certification that that amount of work had been completed, you may have a claim against them too, because they would have been grossly negligent to not confirm any billings with you before they paid out funds being loaned to you. You may also have to take action against them to prevent them from foreclosing on the loan and the property (home and land) because the money was paid but the property does not have the completion which would make their loan a "good loan" - at this stage it should be classified as a distressed loan at a minimum, which normally means as quick a disposal off their books as possible. - foreclosure or selling your loan to someone else being the normal ways of doing that.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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