Woman says after paying contractor $5K, her home is unsafe

Written contracts can clarify disputes

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Choosing the right contractor can save you money and frustration, if you know who you are doing business with before there’s any trouble.

Carolyn Robinson paid more than $5,000 to a contractor for some home improvement work she is now unhappy with. The liaison for that contractor said he did exactly what they discussed.

It’s important to get agreements such as that in writing. The contract should spell out all the specifics of the job, including materials, start and finish dates and payment terms.

Robinson has three problems she wants the contractor to resolve.

The first a sloping porch.

"This is supposed to be level, but when I put the ball on it, the ball goes right off the porch,” Robinson said. “He said the top porch is fine. You just need to fix the bottom porch and everything will be straight. I wanted the whole porch fixed because I knew I was going to put some siding on there, but that’s the way he did it.”

Robinson said a safety railing was taken down by a different contractor who installed the siding and because the porch columns were not properly installed, the safety railing can’t be be put back up. Robinson’s gutters also were sealed and painted, but rainwater doesn’t flow through them. Instead, it pools in the yard.

She paid construction liaison Mark Payne $5,250, who says there is nothing wrong with the columns that were installed. Payne provided a photo showing the safety railing in place after he was finished and said the contractor who installed the siding is responsible for that fix.

Payne said his job was to replace rotted boards on the porch.

Jose Villatoro and Empire PMRH Inc did the work and the State Board of Contractors confirmed it has a Class C contractor’s license.

The gutters are being resealed and Robinson said she is going to forget about the other work she said needs to be completed.

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