Homeowners left 'high and dry,' says star of Holmes on Homes
(Apr 7, 2007)
Joe and Joanne West's house at 55 Lanza Court was too much for Mike Holmes.
Holmes, star of HGTV's popular Holmes on Homes, scouted the Wests' house last September as a possible candidate for his renovation show. He decided to take a pass, in part because the repairs needed would be too extensive.
"I remember it very well," said Holmes. "It was very sad. There were so many things wrong with that house. I was not impressed."
The Holmes on Homes show highlights real homeowners and their construction horror stories. Holmes uses his contractor's expertise to fix the mistakes of what he calls "a lot of sloppy, lazy and dangerous work" that he sees in the construction business.
Holmes said he was tipped off about the Wests' home by an e-mail he received. The Wests aren't sure who sent it, other than to say they weren't responsible and were surprised when they were contacted by the show.
"He knocked on our door and wanted to review the home," said Joe West. "He had an issue with the dollar amount that would have to go into the house to repair it.
"He said that we have some major issues here," West added. "He wouldn't touch it."
What really angered Holmes, however, was the fact that there were still a lot of unresolved issues relating to permits and jurisdictional wrangling that were still outstanding, even though the Wests had already been living in the house for more than a year.
"I was really, really bothered by it," said Holmes. "Everything seemed to have been abandoned - the permit process, government officials, you name it - they sort of left the homeowners high and dry.
"If I remember, there wasn't even an occupancy permit on the house and you're not supposed to move in without it."
Holmes even approached CBC's Marketplace show to see if the producers would be interested in taking a look at the Wests' situation.
"As far as I was concerned, this had to be publicized," Holmes said.
"I don't know who's at fault or who's going to stand up to it, but somebody's got to step forward and say 'Hey, there's a problem here, let's address it.'
"Does it have to be me? Do I have to come in and practically take the house down and do it again?"