CommunityUSDA Rural Development Loan Failed to Identify Shoddy Contractor’s Work

USDA Rural Development Loan Failed to Identify Shoddy Contractor’s Work

Hi, I live in Athens, TN. My brother is a stroke victim. he had 3 strokes and double brain surgery. He cannot walk, or use his left arm. He is on SSD. About 1 year and a half ago, my disabled brother had a leak in his roof, that completely collapsed his bathroom ceiling. It was above the bathtub, and black mold was everywhere. He ended up getting in touch with the USDA, and took out a loan to fix the roof, and remodel that bathroom, making it a handicap friendly bathroom. The case worker for the USDA in Chattanooga told him to get 3 estimates. She gave him a list of contractors, and he called 2 of them, and she said the estimate was too high. The other contractors on the list wouldn't come out because we live to far from them. So, he got a referral from a man who does charity work for poor people. He knew a man who was the head honcho at the Mormon Church here, and this mans son worked on houses. we got the sons phone number. He came out and gave my brother an estimate, and his case manager approved it. The guy had his 2 young workers put the roof on, while he did the bathroom. He did electrical work and plumbing in the bath, and electrical in other areas of the house. When he was done, they set up and appt. for the case manager to come out and look over the work and approve it. If she approves it, and my brother approves it, than the contractor gets paid. They both approved it, but nobody went on the roof. I feel the case worker should have gone on the roof or had the City Bldg. Inspector come out and inspect it. She didn't. He got a 1 year warranty on the work, and the contractor was paid and on his way. There was 2 things he was supposed to come back and finish. A new faucet in the kitchen, and his workers left a gap in his wall between the molding around the front door and the wall. The cased worker took pictures. He never came back to finish it. My brother tried calling him many times, but his phone was disconnected. A year later, his roof starts leaking into the bathroom. the case worker says it is between the homeowner, my brother, and the contractor and washed her hands of the mess. I called everyone I could and found out that the contractor was supposed to be licensed to do any plumbing or electric, no matter how small the cost. In Tennessee you do not have to be licensed to put a roof on unless it is over 25K. We thought he was licensed, but the USDA knew he wasn't. My brother borrowed 14K to have this work done. Since we couldn't call this contractor, I went to his house, with tape recorder in hand. he said he would come out and fix everything. He took down our phone numbers and said he would call the next day. he didn't. A month went buy, the ceiling in the bathroom is sagging and has black mold on it, and we had to do something. I went to Angie's List and hired a top knotch licensed roofer to fix the leak. He was shocked at the shoddy roof job the last contractors workers had done. he said it is the worst he has seen in 40 years of roofing. he took pics of all the problems, gave us an estimate to fix the leak, and we hired him. He came to work 2 days ago, and while working on the roof, came across so many problems, that he could not believe the USDA signed off on it. My brother has mental problems and was just going by what his case worker said. I thought she was checking all this stuff out, but she wasn't. It cost $475.00 to fix the leak, but the roof needs to be replaced. In the meantime, my brother, who's SSD income is $790.00 a month, has to pay the USDA $45.00 a month for the loan. he pays for half, the USDA pays the other half. Now, the USDA got ripped off by this guy too, in my eyes. My concern is for my brother. How can he get part of the loan forgiven, so he can hire the new roofer to put a new roof on correctly and how can we get our $475.00 back from the con artist. Even though it was a 1 year warranty, the warranty SHOULD be for a roof that was installed properly. Since it wasn't, wouldn't that make the warranty null and void. What do we do???? Can the original roofer be arrested? Small claims court would be OK, if he shows up. I don't know what to do, and my brother is in tears. Please help me. Thankyou

The Money Pit Answer
  Juliana, I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles with contractors.  Suffice to say, I have heard this all before.  I'm afraid that anything I told you to do right now would be too little too late. It does seem that the loan officer should bear some responsibility for missing the defects. At the bear minimum, they should have insisted that a building permit be taken out so that proper inspectors would have been made. I think you are on the right track using a contractor from Angie's List.  Keep in mind that even though the roof may have not been properly installed, many times a roof can be repaired an maintained leak free without a complete replacement.
2 Answers
JulianaStar answered 2 years ago

One more thing. he was supposed to pull permits for the bathroom work, which he didn't.

I checked with the city bldg. inspector.

We really need some advice.



JulianaStar answered 2 years ago

Thankyou very much. It is just devestating. My brother doesn't have the money to keep it maintained. They made so many mistakes on that roof. The roofer that fixed the leak 2 weeks ago said this is only the beginning. Thankyou for your reply.