Action 9 investigates new home builder

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A Marion County woman claims she can't live in the new home she bought just four months ago.

 She blames serious water damage on defective sewer lines under the home and said the homebuilder will not fix it.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich went looking for answers in a new community just outside The Villages.

Three weeks after moving into her new Marion County home, Joyce Roark felt trapped in a nightmare that would not end.

“All I want is a home to live in,” said Roark. 

“Can you live here today?” asked Ulrich. 

Roark could not hold back her emotions, “No, there's no way I can live in this house today.”

She sent a complaint against the builder, Armstrong Homes, to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, claiming sewage lines caused two separate backups in her toilet, shower, and sinks, which triggered floods in several rooms.

“I was just in shock, I had never seen anything like this,” said Roark.

Her insurance company paid to dry out the damage, and replace carpets and flooring. Then in her complaint Joyce claimed another sewage backup hit three weeks later.

The second flood badly damaged or wrecked a lot of repairs already made including the wood floor installed the day before.

An independent plumbing company was hired to inspect the system.
 
“They discovered the sewer lines under the house do not drain to the street,” said Roark.

Mike Scott Plumbing in Ocala told Ulrich it had found sewage line problems that could cause backups.

Armstrong Homes has an F rating at the BBB for two unanswered complaints.

Ulrich caught up with Armstrong Homes onsite manager Jim Shay.

“Joyce says she can't get answers from the builder, but can't live in the home,” said Ulrich, "What will the builder do?”

“It went to management a long time ago,” replied Shay.

Later, vice president Scott Armstrong said if there was a sewage line problem, it wouldn't cause that kind of flood. He blamed the homeowner for the serious water damage and said her insurance company had yet to prove the builder did anything wrong. And he says Armstrong Homes has thousands of satisfied home buyers.

“They would open the front door and say to me, 'What did you do to cause this?'" said Roark.

Roark denies creating damage for any insurance money, since everything in the home was already new and paid for. She has filed a claim against the homebuilder's warranty, and that process is still underway.