Liens continue to vex Dayton homeowners

In a development that is happening again and again in Dayton, homeowners who purchased new homes are facing mechanic's liens and possibly the loss of their homes through no fault of their own.

Five Dayton families are being sued because the developer of the subdivision they live in didn't pay the contractors who built the homes.

Reynen & Bardis, which is facing three complaints lodged with the Nevada Contractors' Licensing Board, including one for failure to pay bills, has not paid contractors who worked on five homes in the Riverpark subdivision.

Glynn Hays; Christopher Edwards; Mateo, Candida and Erick Mungia; Jose Munoz; and David and Debra Burns are all named in a lawsuit by Erickson Carpentry Contracting LLC, and Builder Services Group Inc. dba Root Industries, who are trying to recoup a total of $174,613 for their work in building the five homes. The parent company of the three contractors is Masco Corp.

Edwards said other liens are pending.

He said he was told by a representative of the developer that everyone would be paid and the liens would be removed in 30 days.

"But then something went wrong," he said, and the five were served with the lawsuit.

All the homeowners paid Reynan & Bardis for the homes before construction, all used First American Title Co. and all deals for the homes, priced in the low- to mid-$200,000s, were closed.

A state law allows contractors to put mechanic's liens, which are filed against property rather than people, on new homes they constructed but were not paid by the developer. Foreclosure is a possibility, though a remote one.

Becky Pintar, attorney for the five families, was out of the country and could not be reached for comment, but attorney Jeffrey Briggs has said NRS108 allows contractors to put mechanic's liens on homes if they are not paid, and it makes no difference if it is the owner or developer who doesn't pay, though Briggs said rarely does the situation get to foreclosure.

Briggs has represented clients in similar cases.

But Chris Edwards and Glynn Hays aren't taking much comfort in the fact that what is being done to them is legal.

"What needs to be done is the lien law needs to be changed," Edwards said. "If the government thinks part of its job is to protect consumers, this is where they fell down."

He would like to see the law changed so that only the developer could be sued if contractors are not paid, and no liens can be put on homes that were purchased by a third party. He also said title companies should not be allowed to close on newly constructed homes until all the bills are paid.

"It's the builder's responsibility," Hays said. "It's not mine. I should be in on this."

Four liens were removed from the five homes after Reynen & Bardis paid Q&D Construction and Land Source Concrete, Hays said, but others remained.

He said some residents on his street were not sued, and others were. Some bills were paid and others were not.

The experience has left him discouraged, though he said he will not move.

"They showed us these beautiful plans for 200 homes," he said. "Boy they sold us."

Hays moved into his home in October; and Edwards a month later.

Art Nadler, public information officer for the Nevada Contractors Licensing Board, said homeowners with these kinds of issues can file a complaint against the contractor.

"They can file a complaint, and within 30 days they would be contacted by an investigator," he said, adding that Reynan & Bardis does have some "disciplinary action" against them.

Randy McReynolds of Reynen & Bardis, and Keith James of Masco Corp. did not return calls seeking comment.

At the Riverpark subdivision, contractors aren't all that the developer isn't paying for. The land around the developed section, which was cleared for future homes, is now empty and unused, with sand blowing all over residents' yards.

A sand fence that had been installed blew down in heavy winds, he said, which caused his back fence to blow down as well.

"You can see the desert is taking back the neighborhood," he said. "Now the sage is growing back in spots."

He said it would have been better if the developers had only cleared where they were going to build, so the vegetation would have kept much of the sand from blowing around.

At the subdivision's model homes on Dechutes Street, the area has the look of a ghost town, with blowing sand, tumbleweeds stuck in the iron fences, walkways overgrown and the sales office looking like it belonged on a used-car lot that had long ago run out of cars.

- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

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