Family will get house rebuilt Couple had leased new house to builder just before it burned

Builder's insurer to pay

Mortgage payments required for both old and destroyed homes

October 08, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Construction crews may soon begin rebuilding a Crofton home that burned three months ago, days after a Glen Burnie couple purchased it.

Alex and Janet Yeung had leased back their new home on Chelmsford Drive to Ryland, the builder, for use as a model and sales office when the fire destroyed it July 10.

The couple has been paying two mortgages, for their old home and the newer, destroyed house, while waiting for insurance companies to straighten out the competing claims.

After letters from their lawyer William Simmons, countless phone calls, newspaper articles and a meeting, Ryland's insurance company, Reliance, has agreed to pay the claim and to rebuild the home, Simmons said.

"Reliance has promised to have a check delivered on Friday," he said.

Ryland has already ordered the frame for the $290,000 house and can begin construction when it arrives, according to Ryland spokeswoman Anne Madison.

The Yeungs' troubles are far from over.

According to Madison, it could take up to four months to rebuild the house, and Allstate, the Yeungs' insurance company, has not agreed to pay the couple's expenses, Simmons said.

When the Yeungs leased the model home back to Ryland, the rent was enough to cover the mortgage on the new home.

But after the fire, Ryland canceled the lease, and the Yeungs have been paying a mortgage on their new home -- of which only a foundation remains -- and on their old home in Glen Burnie, where they continue to live with their son, Kent.

County officials would not release the cause of the fire until an insurance investigation is finished.

According to the Yeungs, Allstate has questioned whether they told their sales representative that they were leasing the house back to Ryland when they bought the homeowner's policy. The company also has questioned whether the policy covered the fire because the Yeungs had not yet moved, Janet Yeung said.

If Allstate does not cover expenses, the couple -- who own a sushi bar and restaurant on Route 3 -- could continue paying $2,800 a month until the new house is rebuilt and the old one sold.

Simmons said the agreement with Reliance may help.

"Reliance will join with us to chase Allstate," Simmons said, adding that because Allstate had the master policy on the home, Reliance may be entitled to reimbursement for some rebuilding costs.

As the lawyers seek reimbursement, "it will potentially save the Yeungs money" in their claim, Simmons said.

Janet Yeung said she is happy the project is moving forward, but she'll be happier when building begins.

Pub Date: 10/08/97

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