PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Warranties are meant to protect you, but some homeowners say their home builder isn't honoring their warranty. Builders often warranty their homes for 10 years, and it transfers from owner to owner. However, what one owner did or didn't do may impact your chance of getting warranty work done.
Paul Baker loves his spacious backyard with a nature preserve behind his Port St. Lucie home. It provides plenty of space to kick around a ball with his children; but the family feels kicked around by their builder KB Home.
"Heavy rains I stay inside my kitchen with a wet vacuum to try to keep the water level down," said Baker.
The Bakers say the water damage was such a problem in the living room they tore out the window and replaced it with a door.
When you walk outside, you see what Baker believes is causing the mess.
"I actually did this myself to slow down the water," Baker said as he pointed out the cracks and sealant on the side of his home.
He tried to fill in the cracks to slow down the water problem.
He said the stucco patch isn't working, and worries there's a bigger problem.
"They repaired my neighbor's home. They had to strip the whole side off and re-stucco it," Baker explained.
Neighbor, Tom Allred, took pictures of the stucco work done in the Windy Pines subdivision. He also took pictures of the mold in his own home.
"They had to rip out the drywall and replace the window here," said Allred of the contractor he hired to fix the window in a room in his home.
KB Home told the Consumer Watchdog it won't fix Allred's home because it's a foreclosure and sat vacant too long before he bought it.
The warranty doesn't cover deterioration caused by homeowner neglect.
"Shame on me. I should have done a home inspection," said Allred.
A home inspector may have pointed out the potential costly problem to Allred.
The Attorney General is investigating the company after nearly 90 homeowners across the state filed complaints. Some of the complaints were about water, stucco, and mold.
Florida State Representative Debbie Mayfield from Vero Beach said KB Home responded to homeowner complaints after she called the builder.
She's looking at whether legislation could help homeowners facing similar situations from builders.
Back in Port St. Lucie, it's not just water pouring into homes. A homeowner says a tree popped through a wall near their window.
Contractors for KB Home were fixing that home the day we visited, but they haven't agreed to fix the Bakers home.
Once again, KB Home blames poor maintenance and not construction issues for the cracked stucco. KB said Baker was encouraged to patch and paint the exterior of his home, and that he has not done so since originally buying the home.
"All I want KB Home to do is repair. I have a ten year warranty on the house and we have not been here 10 years," said Baker.
KB Home said it has built more than 25,000 homes in Florida, and they all have a specific set of circumstances. The company suggests homeowners seal any cracks and paint the stucco every three to five years.
KB Home's Statement
"KB Home’s policy is to evaluate each homeowner’s request individually. Mr. Allred purchased a seven year old, vacant, bank-owned home that was unmaintained for an extended period of time. KB Home has built more than 25,000 homes throughout Florida and each home has a specific set of circumstances. Our warranty does not cover damage due to lack of homeowner maintenance or the home owner’s failure to take appropriate action to prevent further damage, which is generally the case where homes have been unoccupied for extended periods of time and the situation with this particular home.”