Beware of liens: Homebuyer could owe $90K more amid contractor’s lawsuit

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —A Tampa homebuyer who paid $500,000 for a newly built property found out the hard way they could be on the hook for about $90,000 more than they paid for it.

Now, another potential sale in the city means another buyer should beware.

Contractor Todd Britton-Harr filed liens on both properties after claiming the developer who hired him to build the homes and five others stopped paying him.

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According to court records, at one point M.A.X Investment Properties owed Britton-Harr about $630,000. $345,000 was paid toward those liens following a court settlement last year.

Britton-Harr and M.A.X. owner Cliff Parchmon are now locked in a civil lawsuit over the rest of the debt.

M.A.X. investors Bradam Properties and MDMM Properties are also involved in that lawsuit, claiming Parchmon also owes them money.

Parchmon has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

A new twist in the dispute involves a home on North Woodland Avenue that was listed for $950,000 and recently went under contract with a buyer.

Britton-Harr said he started construction on the home but then pulled out after the developer stopped paying him. It was then finished by other contractors, but Britton-Harr said he is owed $136,000 for his work.

8 On Your Side contacted the listing agent to ask if the buyer knows about the lien but so far he has not answered that question.

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The other home is located on North Highland Avenue and sold last March with an $89,000 lien on it. Britton-Harr said the buyers did not know about the lien that should have either been paid before the closing or stopped the sale altogether.

“He knew there was a lien on it,” Britton-Hair insisted. “The lien was right here, recorded the week before they closed on the property.”

According to Britton-Harr, Profusion Title did the title work on the North Highland sale. Profusion Title has not yet responded to requests for comment about the lien.

Britton Harr said the fact that the North Woodrow home is under contract might lead to something positive for his company.

“It could be good news because theoretically I should get paid the lien that’s owed out of the closing,” he said.

But there’s still the concern that what happened after that first sale could happen again with this one.

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“It shouldn’t happen that way. The system is designed to protect the new buyers and people who worked on the property,” Britton-Harr said. “They worked around it. They didn’t do what was right.”

Britton-Harr brought his claim that alleged fraud was involved to Tampa police, but the department is not commenting on that case at this time.
           
Britton-Harr said the rush for developers and builders to keep up with buyers, plus inflation and higher interest rates, may have fueled the dispute he’s stuck in right now.

“That’s probably a symptom. There’s no question about it,” Britton-Harr said. “We’re trying to build, trying to get things done and I just think they ran out of cash.”

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