ORLANDO, Fla. — Some first time homebuyers in Orlando turned to Action 9 after a giant crack formed across the floor of their new home. They also found out they may not have a warranty they thought they paid for.
Building a home on a small family property in Orlando was a dream come true for Cayla Williams and her husband Quenell.
Williams told Action 9′s Jeff Deal, “This property has been in my family for over 50 years. And so this was about generational wealth for us, too.”
They saw signs posted in the community and work being done for new homes by Singh New Construction Inc.
They signed a contract to have the home built. Everything was going fine until they had a small disagreement about some of the finishes. Things got worse when they learned a warranty was needed to get their federal loan.
“They basically informed us that there was not a warranty that was provided on our home and the price that they provided to us and that we would have to pay an additional $10,000,” Cayla Williams said.
She and Quenell believed the extra $10,000 would be for an extended warranty, not just the one-year warranty required by the bank for the FHA loan.
After back and forth messages with Singh New Construction--they learned the sales person who was going to issue the policy passed away. Cayla Williams said she never received details or a written policy for an extended home warranty. That became a big issue about a year and half after moving in after they heard a loud noise in the middle of the night.
Quenell Williams said, “I thought like an earthquake or something. You know, it was that loud. Honestly, it was that loud. Like it actually shook the house.”
The couple found a crack in their flooring that extends though the kitchen and into a spare bedroom. They also had concerns about a damaged windows broken by vandals before they moved in that still hadn’t been repaired. According to the couple, their efforts to get Singh New Construction to solve the problems were ignored.
The Action 9 team caught up with manager Hemraj Singh at the home address where the business is registered to ask about the complaints.
Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal explained, “They said they purchased a home warranty for $10,000, but never received the warranty.”
Singh responded “One second, one second. Can you step back? Step back.”
He was pointing at the Action 9 photographer. Then Singh suddenly turned and walked into the garage.
Deal said, “We’re just trying to get your side of the story, sir.”
But Singh closed the garage door and wouldn’t go back outside to discuss it.
His wife, BiBi Singh who also works for the company later called Deal and said the $10,000 was for the one-year warranty only, not an extended warranty. She also said they weren’t aware of the crack in the floor and that the couple hadn’t responded to them about the broken window.
Real estate attorney Karen Wonsetler was skeptical to hear about the price tag for what the builder claims was intended to cover a one-year warranty.
“For this type of loan, the one-year warranty is not expensive. It’s a few hundred dollars. And it’s required for an FHA loan,” Wonsetler told Action 9.
Wonsetler said $10,000 for a one-year warranty doesn’t make sense.
She added, “On new construction, the warranty paperwork, it has to be part of your closing documents. The amount of money you’re paying for it is going to be on your closing documents.”
And she says the couple could take legal action if the closing documents don’t clearly disclose the $10,000 and they also could argue the crack is a builder defect.
The whole process has left Cayla and Quenell Williams frustrated.
Cayla Williams said, “Left a very sour taste in our mouth when it comes to building.”
Singh New Construction told Action 9 and the couple they will replace the window.
In this case, the construction agreement stated there were no other warranties unless accompanied with the agreement.
Anytime you are paying for a home warranty it should be done at closing. Also, make sure you know the length of the warranty, what it covers and what’s excluded.
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