Action 9 investigates post-hurricane denials of roof warranties

by: Todd Ulrich, Gerry Mendiburt Updated:

ORLANDO, Fla. - Dozens of home owners contacted Action 9 when their builder refused to cover damages after Hurricane Irma caused roofs to leak.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich investigated the denials of roof warranties and helped homeowners receive the protection for which they paid.

The leaks were so bad in some new homes that buckets were needed to limit damage caused by Irma.

Read: Action 9: Insurance company tactic could cost homeowners thousands

Jana Jenkins said she never expected to see it rain in her new home.

"Are you kidding me?" Jenkins said. "(These are) brand new homes and our roofs are leaking."

Jenkins said she was so upset that she posted about it on Facebook and was contacted by 120 people who also experienced leaky roofs in their D.R. Horton homes.

Read: Action 9: Getting results for Central Florida consumers

Sharlene Philips said she thought it would never end.

"I'm panicking," she said. "I'm going, 'Oh, my god.'"

Philips asked the builder for warranty repairs.

Read: Action 9: Home repair contracts spin out of control

Homeowner Meredith Santos said she also did.

"They kept denying it," she said. "I kept going back. They kept denying it. It was just wind-driven rain."

Some owners blamed the leaks on off-ridge vents without the proper baffles to keep out rain and they said vent openings were cut two to three times larger than the manufacturer's recommendations.

Read: Action 9 investigates contractor denying new roof warranties

Action 9 had mechanical engineer Kerei Alexander, of KA Inspections, review the complaints.

"If the openings are of that size, you're going to get water intrusion," Alexander said. "It's a warranty repair, not wind damage. It should have been picked up by an inspector prior to now."

Anyone who had a new roof installed could face the same denials.

Read: Action 9 investigates home warranty company

Most new roof contracts void warranty repairs after high-wind storms, but Action 9 helped a homeowner challenge that denial after its inspector found that installation defects caused the leaks -- not high winds.

"Just because you exceed those wind standards doesn't mean you had wind damage there," said Doug Wallace, of William John Associates. "It would be wise to have your home inspected."

D.R. Horton agreed to pay for repairs on dozens of new homes under warranty after Ulrich contacted the company.

Read: Action 9: Buyers claim new homes have structural damage

"I knew something wasn't done right," Santos said.

D.R. Horton told Ulrich that storm damage isn’t usually covered by warranties, but it said that it is inspecting the homes and will make repairs as soon as possible.

It pays to have an inspection if your warranty is denied

Read: Action 9: Should you avoid this warranty?

D.R. Horton provided Action 9 with the following statement:

"D.R. Horton takes great pride in the quality of our homes and is committed to customer satisfaction. We are aware that some of our homeowners experienced water intrusion as a result of high winds during hurricane Irma, and we understand their desire for timely resolution.  Due to the hurricane's vast impact, we have experienced customer service delays and are responding to service requests as quickly as possible. While storm-caused damage is typically outside of standard warranty coverage, if damage resulting from water intrusion is identified during the inspections, D.R. Horton is committed to addressing the necessary repairs as soon as possible."

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