ORLANDO,Fla. - Several buyers in Central Florida claim they are trapped in new homes that are now money pits because of major structural damages. They blame the same home builder for poor workmanship and for not honoring a warranty.
Their home is just two years old, but Dana and Marc Stallard said nearly 3,000 screws have popped out of walls in every room in their Lake Nona home.
“We have a fixer-upper. We have a brand-new fixer-upper,” said Dana Stallard. She showed Action 9's Todd Ulrich how the drywall in an upstairs bedroom moves to the touch.
The builder, Ashton Woods, sent employees to reset the screws, but the Stallards said many popped back out and call the repairs temporary ‘Band-Aids’.
“There has to be an underlying reason why this is happening,” said Marc Stallard.
The couple hired a home inspector and talked to attorneys. One theory is the premade wall frames had been soaked during construction and then changed shape.
“I don't think there's any question there are structural issues here, it's a question of how deep and how many,” said construction attorney Michael Sasso.
In the Lake Nona development, several new owners made similar claims on a Facebook protest page.
“We were building our dream home and it’s turned into a nightmare for us,” said one of the other frustrated owners.
In her 1-year-old home, nails popped from the drywall, but her bigger concern is stucco cracking, causing it to fall off, and garage mold so bad it can't be used.
“We have yet to see a licensed structural engineer come in from the builder,” she said.
The local president of Ashton Woods told Action 9 it's working to resolve concerns, and the builder stands behind the homes, saying warranty obligations were fulfilled.
The Stallards said they aren't painting walls until big structural problems are fixed.
“I feel I was tricked into buying this house,” said Dana Stallard.
The Stallards and another family in the neighborhood claim the builder's repairs so far have been cosmetic only and their new home contracts include binding arbitration only to resolve complaints which eliminates lawsuits for now.
Ashton Woods written response:
"I am the Division President for the Florida operations of Ashton Woods Homes and am writing in response to your email correspondence dated (Thursday, April 21, 2016), regarding the concerns of Dana & Marc Stallard and Jamie & Scott Rogaliner. While Ashton Woods Homes generally does not publicly discuss matters relating to individual homeowners, we think it is appropriate for us to acknowledge our continuing efforts to resolve the concerns of these homeowners, including through written offers to address the concerns they have raised. We stand behind the homes that we build and fulfill our warranty obligations to our homeowners. We value the satisfaction of each and every one of our homeowners and strive to resolve any concerns that may arise."
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