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Attorney 1
Attorney 1, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
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I bought land (in Beltsville, MD) and contracted with a

Customer Question

I bought land (in Beltsville, MD) and contracted with a builder to construct my home. After I had spent a lot of money on permits I was told by Dawit A. Abraham of Prince George's County DPW&T (I don't know his proper title) that I would sign a document (the surety bond) or stop construction of the house. This put me in debt for a number of thousands of dollars.
In 2007 the house was finished. I have since been paying interest every year on the surety bond to a company holding the bond in Laurel, Maryland. The surety company very recently sent me copies of the original bond papers and requested notarized, witnessed signature. I am not completely sure of why the company requested this formalization of duplicates unless it means the originals have been lost. (I would have thought the originals were at DPW&T, not at a surety company).
I would like to know whether I can have this bond requirement substantially reduced or removed. I can send you further details by email, or we can talk by telephone.
James Sutherland ***@******.*** (###) ###-####
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 9 months ago.

Hi James, welcome. I am a licensed attorney and happy to assist.

Since the surety bond payments are rightfully owed, you can't automatically reduce or remove the bond payment. That said, you are under no legal obligation to have any documents notarized unless the original contract you signed requires you to "take any action in furtherance of effectuating the agreement, as requested by the bondholder." Absent some sort of language to that effect, notarization would not be required, but the legal effect would be the same, either way. If the company was to later take legal action for non-payment, they would be able to prove validity of the debt, with or without notarization.

Lack of original notarization does not void the contract because the bond company fully performed its side of the bargain by providing the bond when needed. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but having accurate information allows you to make informed decisions going forward.

I hope this helps. If you need additional information or clarification, just let me know and I'll be happy to continue providing assistance. If you still feel a phone discussion would be helpful, just let me know I will submit an additional services offer for that purpose.

If I have sufficiently addressed your inquiry, please remember to leave a positive rating when prompted, as that is how attorneys on this site are credited for the help we provide.

Best,

Attorney 1

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