BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced on Tuesday that his Consumer Protection Division's Home Builder Registration Unit has settled with 27 home builders who allegedly violated Maryland's building laws.
The settlement agreements total $26,000 and settle allegations that the builders operated without being registered, failed to disclose compulsory information to the unit in their registration applications or otherwise violated state building laws.
The builders involved in the agreements include Arbutus Rentals LLC; Braun Builders LLC; Crew's Custom Building LLC; Cypress Construction LLC; Design Alternatives Inc.; Deutsch Gilden & Sons LLC; Dominion Carpentry Inc.; Eagle Rock Construction LLC; Eric Paugh Contracting Inc.; Flaim Bros. Inc.; Gothic Enterprises Inc.; H. F. Payne Construction Co.; Inc., High Caliber Homes Inc.; J. Square Construction Inc.; Larry A. Sawyer; Leon Builders LLC, NVR Inc., taken as NV Homes and Ryan Homes; O'Shea Custom Contracting Inc.; Pulte Home Corporation; R.P. Williams Construction Inc.; Rachuba Home Builders LLC; Robert Harrison Fargher, taken as Fargher Development; Robert L. Cropper, taken as R.C. Home Improvements; Rosemary Street LLC; Sturbridge Associates LLC; Sweeney Builders Inc.' and Zoppo Construction Inc.
"Home builders must be registered before they can enter into contracts to build homes for consumers in Maryland," Gansler said. "Home buyers can protect themselves by checking with us before they sign a contract with any builder. Make sure you're dealing with a company that is in good standing with state laws designed to protect consumers."
In one incident, the division settled allegations that NVR Inc.. taken as NV Homes and Ryan Homes, had improper provisions in its contracts with consumers that excluded the implied warranty protections required by state law. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will revise its contracts, review warranty claims and complaints filed in 2009, and arbitrate those complaints or claims with the division's arbitration program that are still unresolved after its review.
In another instance, the division settled allegations that Rachuba Home Builders LLC and its principals failed to build the homes of consumers in Carroll County for an agreed upon price. In addition, the company allegedly failed to use consumers' progress payments to build the homes and pay suppliers or subcontractors, used contracts attempting to exclude consequential damages and implied warranties, and failed to provide the division with necessary information to renew its registration as a home builder. The builder and its principals agreed to arbitrate any unresolved consumer complaints through the division's arbitration program and to attain a performance bond before acting as a builder in the state.
The settlements prohibit all of the companies from acting as home builders in Maryland unless they register with the unit and comply with other state laws governing home builders.