CRIMETRACKER: Contracting Nightmares - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CRIMETRACKER: Contracting Nightmares

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Building a home is a dream come true for many people. Getting from start to finish usually involves hiring a general contractor, the professional expert who oversees the entire project. Hiring the wrong contractor could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Kyle and Tiana Mungari of Coeur d'Alene say they didn't do their homework when they hired a contractor to build their home. Kyle Mungari was paralyzed in a drunk driving crash and the couple used money from the crash settlement to build a wheelchair accessible house that was up to ADA standards. Kyle says his physical therapist recommended the contractor. They say they trusted the therapist and therefore trusted the contractor he recommended.   

However, building their dream house turned into a nightmare. They say the cost skyrocketed well past the agreed upon maximum price of $500,000 and will cost them close to a million by the time they repair the damage. They say damage includes uneven floors, windows held in with just nails, damaged siding, and bad ventilation.

The couple brought in a former contractor and expert witness who deals with homeowners in deals gone bad. Brian Daniels says the damage to the Mungaris is extensive and that every homeowner should do their homework before they hire a person to build their house.  

Daniels says to do the following: Check 3 to 5 References and make sure the references go back 5 to 10 years. Daniels says it's essential to make sure his work has withstood the test of time and didn't fall apart in the first few years. He also says to check with subcontractors and see what they have to say about the contractor you are considering hiring.  Daniels also says to check with the building department to see what kind of permits the contractor has pulled over the last few years. This will give you the chance to see exactly what kind of work the contractor is doing. Also, check with material yards and make sure the contractor has paid them off. Daniels says not to rely on Labor and Industries claims. He says that's because once an infraction is paid, it's often removed from their record.

KHQ spoke with Washington's Labor and Industries. While they say that contractors infractions are actually not removed from their records, they admit that consumers do not always have the ability to see all of those infractions. They say that is because sometimes contractors try to evade detection by registering under different names. They also say that online information does not always provide a thorough record. They say if you want more information about a contractor to call the contractor compliance program at 1-800-647-0982.

KHQ talked to their contractor who said he had done remodels and built his own homes, but admitted that the Mungaris were the first people to hire him to build an entire house. He says he was willing to fix the problems, but says the Mungaris fired him before he could do it. The contractor has filed bankruptcy and now the Mungaris are hoping to make back their money by going after his insurance company.

They admit they didn't do things the right way and that they're paying for their mistake. They hope speaking out will inspire others to do their research and their homework before they trust and hire a contractor to build their home.
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