By Andrea Lucia

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DALLAS (CBS11) – A Dallas home builder’s bankruptcy has left homeowners on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid labor costs.

Adam and Gabriela Norton say they hired Bella Vita Custom Homes to build their dream home.

bankrupt builder 3 Homeowners In Limbo After Homebuilder Bankruptcy

Adam and Gabriela Norton (CBS11)

“We’ve been planning to build this house for 13 years, and we finally did it,” he said.

When the time came to move in, the house, though, was far from finished.

“It was unpainted, there were holes in the walls, there were all kinds of problems,” said Adam.

“There’s no money to finish your house,” he recalls a project manager telling him.

Subcontractors soon appeared demanding payment for the work they’d completed.

“This is hundreds of thousands of dollars that people are asking for that we already paid Bella Vita. Where’s that money at?”

On top of the $750,000 loan the Nortons used to pay Bella Vita, they say they’ve now spent $80,000 out of pocket.  And yet subcontractors have placed $50,000 in liens on the property, putting the Nortons at risk of foreclosure.

“This is our dream home that we spent all of our life savings on. And we might not even get to keep it,” said Norton.

“It sucks for a homeowner. But it also really stinks for a subcontractor, too,” said attorney Jeremy Fielding who added there’s little homeowners can do.

The builder has declared bankruptcy and the law offers little protection.

“They’d rather put the onus on the homeowner to have to bear the costs, as opposed to the subcontractor,” said Fielding.

Until they can settle the liens, the Nortons have stopped putting money into a house they fear they will lose.

“Our dreams have been shattered. It’s been extremely hard to deal with this.”

Andy Clem, Bella Vita’s CEO told CBS11 he can’t comment due to the bankruptcy proceedings.

The Nortons said they’ve found dozens of home buyers like them, wondering what Bella Vita did with their money.

The Norton’s story has been attracting the attention of media organizations accross the state.

 

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