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‘Missing’ builder could cost family their home

The following article from The Age tells Justin’s story.

Victoria The Age
Date June 15, 2011
Adam Carey

After their building warranty claim was rejected, Justin Carter, wife Kate and son Max were left
with an unfinished house in Bacchus Marsh.

JUSTIN Carter faces losing a family house he has spent more than $160,000 on after the
builder ”disappeared” in January before the house had been completed, and the government
insurer rejected his warranty claim.

Mr Carter’s partially built house in Bacchus Marsh has been vandalised, and copper and brass
fittings have been stolen since construction suddenly stopped in December, the same month the
house was contracted to have been finished.

”The builder hasn’t rung us at all, has given us no explanation, and I have no way of contacting
him,” Mr Carter says.

With his bank still chasing regular mortgage payments, Mr Carter fears he will have to sell the
property and he and his wife’s hopes of owning their own home will have been trashed. ”If this
insurance doesn’t kick in we’ll have to sell our house and … we’ll never be able to afford to build
a house again,” he says.

Mr Carter is a customs officer and his wife Kate cares for their one-year-old son at home.
The builder, Zadun Homes, is known to have quit work on three other incomplete houses in
Bacchus Marsh at about the same time. None of the other affected people have been able to
find the builder either.

Attempts by The Age to contact Zadun Homes failed. The business is listed in the White Pages
at an address in Hoppers Crossing, but the phone number is disconnected, and the office is
closed and chained.

Mr Carter has tried to claim builders warranty insurance, which is payable if a builder dies,
becomes insolvent, or disappears. But the government’s insurance arm, the Victorian Managed
Insurance Authority, rejected his claim because Zadun Homes is still registered with the
Australian Securities and Investment Commission, and is therefore not insolvent, despite being
uncontactable. ”We suggest that you contact the builder to pursue any issues you have arising
from your major domestic building contract,” the authority wrote to Mr Carter in March. ”If a
trigger for the policy arises and Zadun Homes subsequently becomes insolvent, dies or
disappears you may wish to make a new claim …”

The authority then advised Mr Carter to take the matter to VCAT, a process he says he has
neither the time nor the money to go through.

Mr Carter also sought help from Consumer Affairs, which told him that it could not contact the
builder to initiate mediation, and advised him to make a claim with the authority or go to VCAT.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/missing-builder-could-cost-family-its-home-

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