Loudon County widow, contractor in dispute over unfinished sunroom

TELLICO VILLAGE, Tenn. (WATE) - A widow in Loudon County has been threatened with a lien against her property because of a dispute over a sunroom. Work on the enclosed patio began more than five months ago and remains unfinished.

A lien is a notice attached to your property that you owe a creditor money. A creditor can place what's called a mechanic's lien on your property if payment isn't made.

Money isn't the problem for Sharon Lee. She can make the payments. When workers stopped remodeling her patio in July, she made calls to the business. All she wants is her newly enclosed porch finished. Five windows and a door were installed and the walls were put up, but the work stopped three months ago.

"What I'm worried about is some of the caulking is coming apart, you can see there the caulking. When it rains, that water is getting behind this wood," she said.

Then there is the door that opens by itself.

"It doesn't close properly as you can see. When you try to close it when the wind is blowing, like right now, the wind will open the door because it doesn't say closed," said Lee.

Outside windows have been put in, but the framing isn't finished.

"They did do some caulking, but it's separating. And then they left this metal down here on the ground," she said.

Lee hired Scenic View Sunrooms. Her contract was signed March 23, seven months ago. By April, the company was paid $2,500, half up front. The total bill for the project that began in June was $4,600.

In late July, Jimmy Miller representing the company sent Lee a series of voice messages threatening her with legal action.

"There will be a lien against your property for $2,250 plus lien charges and anything else that we can add to it. So, don't worry about paying us. We're not sending nobody else to your property. We're not going to fix anything because you won't let us," said Miller in one of the messages.

Lee says she never told Miller she wouldn't let them finish the project. She also understood there was no payment schedule. Besides paying 50 percent up front, her contract does not have any information regarding scheduled payments. Lee said she has the money to pay for the job, that's not an issue. She's puzzled by the company's "satisfaction guarantee" that was implied when she signed the contract.

"The final payment would be made when I was satisfied and happy. When the project was done," she said.

So far, that threatening call was apparently just that, a threat. A mechanic's lien for the unpaid balance can be filed by a contractor who supplied labor and material on your project. In Tennessee, notice of the lien is required and a sworn statement with the Register of Deeds. Also, the lien must be given to the property owner, sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. Lee checked with Loudon County and no lien has been filed against her.

When WATE 6 On Your Side went to Scenic View Sunrooms' office in Halls to get their side of the story, there was a sign that it had moved to Callahan Drive. However, there was still furniture and papers inside. The company has been in business for years according to records. Then we saw someone inside. It was the design consultant.

Tracy Miller had visited Sharon's home in March. When she saw us, she disappeared, never came to the door. However, within 30 minutes Tracy Miller called and said: "We tried to complete the job, all that's left is some caulking. Let me assure you, we will get the work done."

Despite the promises, no one showed up at Lee's home last week. Lee then got a call from Tracy Miller who said she's resigned from the company and finishing the job is being turned over to someone else. All Lee wants is her sunroom made right by Scenic View.

"I want my porch finished. I want mine to look nice, I want to be able to enjoy it," Lee said.

Scenic View has apparently hired a new subcontractor. When called by WATE 6 ON Your Side, the subcontractor said, "We've done nothing wrong. We'll get our there as soon as we can." Lee said when she talked with the guy, she was told she must let them finish the job.

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