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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 9/15/2009 11:31:31 AM EST

I'm having a big problem with a house I purchased two years ago. I want to know if there is anything I can do or if I'm stuck paying for somebody elses poor workmanship.

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Link Posted: 9/15/2009 11:36:12 AM EST
Your home inspector may be on the hook for some of it. Find that documentation, and investigate that first. Most of these problems are, likely, on you. Two years after the fact will be tough to hold someone accountable.

If you can post (or PM) more specific info, please do, and I will run it by my wife who IS an attorney, and who does a lot of work in a somewhat similar industry.

shooter
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 11:56:27 AM EST
2 years is a LONG time. i have seen floors rotted out after less time. i dont think you stand a chance but good luck to you.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 12:59:44 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/15/2009 1:00:46 PM EST by AlmostAmos]
Well, that is what I was trying to figure out. Here's the deal:

2 years ago, we purchased a newly-built home here in VA. We bought it in a neighborhood where the builder built 30+ other homes. We did not have a home inspector look at it prior to purchase as it was new construction. Approx 6 months ago, we started to notice all of the exterior trim (pine) is rotting/cracking/pulling away from the house. The siding on the house is Hardie Board and is holding up perfect (including the paint). EVERY piece of the trim (soffits, fascia, window trim, etc.) is rotting badly. We actually have mushrooms growing out of the wood in several places. We have tried to call/email/write the builder & they won't communicate with us. They refused delivery on certified letters. We went around the neighborhood a few weeks ago & took a look @ all of the other houses (150 houses). EVERY house built by this builder is experiencing the same problem. NONE of other houses are. It seems none of the other builders homes are affected by this.

SO, I'm trying to figure out if there is ANYTHING I can do about this or if I'm stuck w/ the problem. It doesn't seem right that a house that is only 2 years old needs to have the entire exterior retrimmed/painted. I've seen 15 year old houses that look WAY better than mine.

ETA: The house was built by Aaronal Homes, out of Fredericksburg.

Anyway, that's the story.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 1:36:25 PM EST
Forgive what is most likely a useless post, but this reminds me of a situation maybe 15-20 years ago in Centreville, VA.

Unfortunately my recollection about it is pretty vague.

IIRC, a bunch of owners of quite new townhouses had a problem with either their roofs or their walls deteriorating from some sort of defective paneling used in their construction. After much back and forth with various contractors and such, they ultimately sued the manufacturer of the paneling and got some sort of settlement.

That’s about all I remember, but I just thought I’d run it past you. That might be worth researching.

If you’ve got a homeowners association, you might try to get them involved in this.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 5:01:30 PM EST
I asked my wife and she wondered if the outside was under warranty. If not she said sue.

Standard wife wanted me to say it so here it goes. She is a lawyer, but not licensed to practice in VA (DC and NY), so take what she said as not "legal advice" - otherwise she would have to bill you at her rates - which I think are about $500 - $600 /hr :)

But in all seriousness, if you have any questions shoot me a PM and I'll ask her.
Link Posted: 9/15/2009 5:29:58 PM EST
Maybe class action lawsuit if you could get some other homeowners involved? Good luck.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 1:40:03 AM EST
DId you have a warranty at all from the builder? If so, then it is a warranty claim (which may require counsel, since they are refusing certified letters). If not, I would be tempted to sue them - small claims or not. In this economy, though, it may be blood from a rock, even if you get a judgment for it, because the odds are they are strapped.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 3:16:33 AM EST
Originally Posted By 199:
Forgive what is most likely a useless post, but this reminds me of a situation maybe 15-20 years ago in Centreville, VA.

Unfortunately my recollection about it is pretty vague.

IIRC, a bunch of owners of quite new townhouses had a problem with either their roofs or their walls deteriorating from some sort of defective paneling used in their construction. After much back and forth with various contractors and such, they ultimately sued the manufacturer of the paneling and got some sort of settlement.

That’s about all I remember, but I just thought I’d run it past you. That might be worth researching.

If you’ve got a homeowners association, you might try to get them involved in this.


Ashburn had a similar problem like that in early 2000. Toll Brothers was using EIFS (faux stucco) which had a lot of problems. I think there was a class action lawsuit against the EIFS manufacturers, so Toll Brother went in and had to fix many of the exteriors of their homes.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 9:23:37 AM EST
I'm now lawyer, but I just recently purchased a new home, the contract stated that the builder covered everything under a full warranty for one year. Beyond that, all maintenance, upkeep, repairs, etc are up to the buyer. But even if it is in the contract, I believe it is still possible to sue, if you can prove negligence.

Even if you had a home inspection, the scope of the inspection would rarely discover faulty materials, unless it is something blatant that is visible to the naked eye, and usually the warranty on home inspections, at least in my limited experience, was only a year also.

You may be up a creek, but I would definitely talk to some of your neighbors who are having the same problems, get their opinions on the subject, talk to a lawyer, and maybe get someone with some expert advice on the trim that you are having a problem with. See if this is something somewhat common that he/she has heard of before, or if there was some definite negligence on behalf of the builder.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 4:06:05 PM EST
Not a lawyer but I will ask do you have an arbitration clause in what you signed. You might not have a right to sue if you managed to agree to mandatory arbitration. If that is the case your chances of winning are next to nothing. If not I'd say sue them since they are not responding.
Link Posted: 9/16/2009 5:46:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By 199:
Forgive what is most likely a useless post, but this reminds me of a situation maybe 15-20 years ago in Centreville, VA.

Unfortunately my recollection about it is pretty vague.

IIRC, a bunch of owners of quite new townhouses had a problem with either their roofs or their walls deteriorating from some sort of defective paneling used in their construction. After much back and forth with various contractors and such, they ultimately sued the manufacturer of the paneling and got some sort of settlement.

That’s about all I remember, but I just thought I’d run it past you. That might be worth researching.

If you’ve got a homeowners association, you might try to get them involved in this.



You are correct in your recollection. The roof sheathing was being chemically treated, to help with waterproofing. It actually sped up the deterioration of the sheathing, but had no ill effects on the shingles, making them appear perfectly sound. The stuff was used all over the DC Metro area, and as young firemen, we were warned about treading carefully across the roofs of these houses, because you could take a step or two off of the ladder, and go straight through to the fire room below, which might ruin your day.
Link Posted: 9/17/2009 6:34:28 AM EST

+1 on this. NO I'm not a lawyer.

Originally Posted By Just1ce:
I'm now lawyer, but I just recently purchased a new home, the contract stated that the builder covered everything under a full warranty for one year. Beyond that, all maintenance, upkeep, repairs, etc are up to the buyer. But even if it is in the contract, I believe it is still possible to sue, if you can prove negligence.
Your problem is time (2yrs) and proving the builder was negligent in using sub-standard materials.

Even if you had a home inspection, the scope of the inspection would rarely discover faulty materials, unless it is something blatant that is visible to the naked eye, and usually the warranty on home inspections, at least in my limited experience, was only a year also.
Even with a home inspection, most inspectors aren't going to find fault with trim that is brand new. They aren't going to take a sample and test it in anyway. Besides, they are fairly immune to being held accountable for things miss anyway (which sucks).

You may be up a creek, but I would definitely talk to some of your neighbors who are having the same problems, get their opinions on the subject, talk to a lawyer, and maybe get someone with some expert advice on the trim that you are having a problem with. See if this is something somewhat common that he/she has heard of before, or if there was some definite negligence on behalf of the builder.
This is probably your best bet. Speak to a lawyer and see if it is worth initiating a class action suit, then see IF you can get your neighbors to go along with it - good luck though.

Good luck.



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