Homeowner learns lesson when it comes to home improvements
Diane Richardson has lived in her Anchorage home for 38 years. She says it became a house of horrors during the summer.
"You can kind of see where it's been patched from here to here," Richardson said as she showed a storm drain that had to be re-installed after construction crews improperly did the project the first time.
It does not end there.
"The overhang here has not been finished, and it doesn't meet city codes," said Richardson. "The porch on the house only has half of the screws holding it in place."
Getting to the front door poses other problems, as the steps can make you feel like you're out for a walk along a mountain trail.
"As you can see, each step is a different height; they slope on the sides, they slope in the middle, every stair you should, I believe you should just be able to go up the stairs and not think about it, my stairs trip you all the time," said Richardson.
"This is what my sidewalk looks like, and I can't get another company to come in and do anything because they are shutting down for the season," Richardson said as she described the damage caused by M.J. Quality Construction.
Richardson hired the company after she learned about it from neighbors. Owners claimed to be licensed, bonded and insured. Inspectors with the Municipality said in September, they found the company to be unlicensed in Anchorage and the state. The company's owner did not dispute that.
"Our contract license did expire, but I've already paid for a renewal, I'm just waiting for that in the mail," said owner John Palu.
M.J. Construction has since regained its state license, the license from the Municipality will be restored once owners pay nearly $9,000 in fines. Another issue, the company claims to have a website. That's not what we found when we went online.
"We don't have a website, we're just a small company coming up, I haven't done all that," said Palu.
"Those are huge red flags, you don't know if any of that is true," said Michelle Tabler, who runs the local Better Business Bureau office. She says there are things you should do before you hire a contractor. "You want to make sure they have a business license, it's really important, so, you want to look that up, you want to make sure they have insurance and bonding, in case there's a problem, and to find out the limits," said Tabler.
"I didn't check the licensing, I believed the business card, licensed, bonded and insured," said Denise Richardson, who says that decision cost her at least $15,000.
She will have to spend several thousand dollars more to fix the problems. An expensive lesson learned for this home improvement project.
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