Dozens of homeowners claim houses are falling apart, but major builder refuses to fix them
Source: https://www.wftv.com, October 30, 2018
Dozens of buyers claim their new homes are falling apart, but a major builder refuses to fix defective stucco despite a multimillion-dollar state settlement.
They sued KB Home. The homeowners claim new testing and internal documents show the new homes’ stucco coating failed building codes and the company knew it.
Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich found homes KB refused to fix.
The stucco cracks can be extreme on some homes. Sometimes the concrete coating failed so badly, chunks of the wall just fell off.
“How does that happen?” Ulrich asked.
“Uh, wow, it’s hard to take. It really infuriates you, to be honest,” said homeowner Omar Kashif.
Dozens of Bayberry Lakes homeowners claim their homes are falling apart, and the builder, KB Home, won’t fix glaring construction failures.
“I blame KB and the workers they put on it,” Kashif said.
“Do you think homes could be rotting behind these walls?” Ulrich asked.
“Yes sir, 100 percent,” said Bayberry Lakes Homeowners Association President Bill Kamer.
Bayberry Lakes HOA sued KB Home. The lawsuit claims KB ignored the Florida attorney general’s 2016 settlement that ordered the builder to repair homes built since 2006.
“But two years later, nothing has happened. There are so many loopholes in the settlement, it let KB off the hook,” Kamer said. That’s why the HOA sued.
Lead attorney for the HOA Evan Small said, “What we see here is an epic failure of KB Home’s corporate responsibility.”
The HOA hired engineers to prove the stucco failed building codes. Stucco over wood requires three coats, and stucco over concrete requires two coats.
“What the lab sampling confirmed is that under no circumstances was the number of coats done right,” Small said. His legal team obtained a work order from KB Home to a subcontractor ordering one coat of stucco.
“Why do you think that’s so damning?” Ulrich asked.
“It’s damning for a couple reasons. No. 1, stucco is not allowed to be put on in one coat,” Small said. He said he uncovered similar invoices.
The lawsuit claims despite significant damage Action 9 found, KB refused to make repairs.
“This is a house that KB rejected?” Ulrich asked.
“Yes, there’s nothing wrong here,” Smalls said a KB representative told the homeowner.
A lawsuit deposition claims the KB manager who rejected repair claims had not been trained how to inspect damaged stucco, despite the AG settlement requiring training.
“He received zero training on how to do it,” Small said.
The builder’s response to Action 9’s investigation was, “KB Home does not comment on pending litigation.”
“The evidence will prove they messed up,” Kamer said.
The Florida attorney general’s office told Ulrich that since the KB settlement, 22 owners claimed their homes have not been fixed, and the builder repaired 154 homes.
The agency said its KB Home investigation remains open.
Florida Attorney General response:
There have been 22 stucco complaints received from homeowners since the date the court entered the Consent Decree. A total of 650 homes have been repaired because of the investigation and settlement—including 154 since the court entered the Consent Decree. Because the settlement was in the form of a Consent Decree entered by the court, this matter has never been closed.
Additionally, the settlement does not require KB Homes to report to our office the total dollar amount of repairs made since the decree.