A Wyoming family is out $20,000 after, they say, the contractor did substandard work and didn't finish the job.
It's a problem WZZM 13 On Your Side hears about often.
In this case, we talked to homeowners Emir and Jasmina Rasidovic, who learned a lesson, the hard way.
"So, there's open wires under the tile, there's no sink installed, when you flush the toilet, it will go down to the basement through the drywall”, says Emir.
The renovations to their Wyoming home were supposed to take 3 weeks. Several months later, it's still a mess.
“So right now, we're into a tearing everything down and finding out where the electrical work is," Emir says.
It started in January when the Rasidovics’ went to a tile store and found a list of tile contractors. They chose Jay Vivoda of Sherwood Homes Remodeling and Repair. "He came out, we talked a little bit and on January 27, signed a contract with him", says Jasmina.
The project included tiling, installing new vanities, a shower, and a tub. The Rasidovics’ gave Vivoda $4,900 to start. Then, there was more for supplies.
$2,500 in February, in March, $2,500, in April, $2,700 and another $600 later that month. They also have receipts for hundreds of dollars worth of materials they bought on their own.
"It's been a lot of money. Over $20,000 that's been put in this project", says Emir. And that’s not the only issue. "There were supposed to be permits pulled for everything he was doing. Plumbing and electrical."
The City of Wyoming confirmed no permits were pulled, which is a code violation.
13 On Your Side also found out that Vivoda is not a licensed contractor. In Michigan, it's a criminal misdemeanor to do plumbing or electrical work without a license.
"I have the impression that he cannot finish the job. He can't finish", says Jasmina.
We went to the address for Sherwood Homes on Griggs Street in Grand Rapids. It appeared to be someone's house. We knocked on the door, but no one answered.
Vivoda called us the next day. He agreed to do an on-camera interview, but the day of, cancelled. He told us over the phone that, “I should have pulled the permits.” He also said he is not a licensed electrician or plumber, but has experience doing both. He went on to say, “I shouldn’t have done the work.”
We asked Harold Vandyke, an independent inspector to look at the work. He's been doing home remodeling for several years and professional inspections for 14 years. "The electrical inspector would have not passed that right from the get-go", says Van Dyke. He believes the work is sub-par and a new contractor would have to re-do the project. "So, all the tile work on the floor, walls, anything, take it out, and start over, clean slate."
The Rasidovic's have since received a new estimate from another contractor for over $20,000. In his notes, he wrote, “I have concluded that there will need to be some major work done to get this project completed in the right way.”
As they prepare to hire someone else to do job, the Rasidovics’ want other homeowners to learn from their mistakes. "My hope is other people don't go through this", says Emir.
Jasmina says, "They should investigate and do research before they hire somebody. Never pay in advance, which is what I did."
A criminal complaint has been filed with the Michigan Attorney General's office. The Rasidovic have also hired an attorney to help them mediate the problems with Vivoda.
If you are thinking about hiring someone to do home-improvement work, here are some tips:
*Don't pay in advance
*Always find a contractor who is licensed and bonded
*Check with the state of Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs
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