Troubleshooter: Homeowner gets relief more than a year after renovations begin

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the last year, a Holly Springs family says they have been living in a renovation gone wrong.

Pontus Karnsund and his wife Becky said it's been frustration after frustration when it comes to the job he hired Rouse and Rouse of Goldsboro, LLC to do in September of 2017.

"I hired him to do all of the paperwork, and then secure the foundation and pouring the slab," said Pontus. The job was supposed to turn the crawlspace in Pontus' house into a finished basement.

Robert Rouse submitted the plans, got the permit, and the work started. Pontus said it appeared the job was progressing, as crews dug out the dirt in the crawlspace, and moved HVAC and plumbing lines.

Pontus paid Rouse more than $17,000 of the $24,800 contract, and the next step was to pour the concrete floor and install block headwalls in the basement. "He was supposed to pour this the week before Christmas," said Pontus. But that didn't happen. Instead, the Town of Holly Springs inspections department looked at the job and detailed several issues with the work in letters to Rouse.

Pontus said when the work wasn't corrected, the town took action."They gave me this notice, and it's a Stop Work notice, and you feel like a criminal. He had filed it as a basement remodel, and they said this is a basement conversion," he said.

Pontus said Rouse said he would take care of the issues but it didn't happen and he was left with an unfinished job. "My house is standing on stilts. My wife has nightmares of my house caving in falling down."

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Pontus got in touch with me and I got in touch with Robert Rouse. Rouse said part of the problem is that the town approved the original plans but then went back and said there were issues with the approved plans and issued a Stop Work Order. He also said he had no issue finishing the work, but several obstacles arose and he was working with his engineer to get new plans that the town would approve.

Rouse said he would make it a priority, but said Pontus had to get the waterproofing done and a lift station needed to be added.

It took several months of more back and forth with Rouse until Rouse and Pontus finally came to an agreement on what work would move forward. They two came to an agreement and Rouse got the Stop Work Notice lifted, continued work in the crawlspace which included pouring the concrete floor. He also added a large section of concrete to Pontus' driveway.

Once that work was complete, Pontus agreed the two would part ways. Rouse eventually did his part and Pontus said he's relieved he can move forward with finishing the basement on his own. "Our family celebrated. We said at least now that stressful part is over, and now we can focus on what we need to get done," he said.
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