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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

Kentucky: Beazer Inherits Leaking Home Responsibility
Sunday, 24 September 2006

Residents of The Enclave hope bricks and windows will solve ongoing problems with seeping water
It's a familiar story in The Enclave, a desirable south Lexington neighborhood of 148 houses that has been turned into a construction zone of debris containers and scaffolding. Most of the houses, which sell for up to $240,000, have suffered water damage, and Beazer Homes -- which bought the company that built the subdivision -- is in the middle of massive repairs.

Leaks plague Beaumont homes
Residents of The Enclave hope bricks and windows will solve ongoing problems with seeping water

By Beverly Fortune
HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER
Mark Cornelison/Staff
Workers rebricked a home on Allegheny Way in The Enclave in Beaumont subdivision. Windows are also being replaced in houses with water damage.

In hard rainstorms last year, Huma Nasir found water leaking in around a window and the living room fireplace of her house in The Enclave of Beaumont.

After Nasir learned that other houses in the subdivision had water problems, she contacted the Lexington office of Beazer Homes Investments, which inspected.

Workmen are now removing the brick exterior, replacing windows and wrapping Nasir's house in a waterproof material. Finally, a new brick exterior will be laid.

It's a familiar story in The Enclave, a desirable south Lexington neighborhood of 148 houses that has been turned into a construction zone of debris containers and scaffolding. Most of the houses, which sell for up to $240,000, have suffered water damage, and Beazer Homes -- which bought the company that built the subdivision -- is in the middle of massive repairs.

The company -- and many residents -- say Beazer is doing the right thing by fixing a problem in homes it didn't actually build.

Beazer Homes, a national homebuilder with home offices in Atlanta, acquired houses in The Enclave when it bought Crossman Communities Inc., of Indianapolis, which built most of the houses. Crossman had bought out Cutter Homes in 1997.

Lexington attorney for Beazer, Jon Woodall, said, "We do want to make it clear that these are not homes Beazer constructed, but it's fixing them anyway ... without being sued or without any kind of settlement agreement or court order being imposed."

But some residents also say it hasn't been a pleasant experience.

Kim and Mike Baker found water damage soon after moving into their house on Sovereign Way in 2001. Extensive work has been done to the house but a water problem persists, the Bakers say.

"Since we've lived here, I have not been able to decorate," Kim Baker said. She has had concerns for the health of two of her children. "It's disrupted our lives horribly," she said.

While Beazer has not been taken to court, it has filed a lawsuit of its own. In January, it filed suit in Fayette Circuit Court against 25 of the original subcontractors, saying 132 houses have been identified with "water intrusion" problems. Defendants include a window manufacturer and distributor and subcontractors who supplied labor and materials. Beazer is asking to be reimbursed for the cost of repairs.

The defendants deny liability for the damages.

Homeowner Rick Parsons said Beazer Homes was being "responsible."

"I don't know what else they could do," Parsons said. He and his wife Tonya bought their house at 2196 Allegheny Way 71/2 years ago. Within the first year, they found water leaks around two windows when it rained hard.

"There was no visible sign of having a water problem," Parsons said. "It is all between the walls."

Beazer is replacing all the windows in the Parsonses' house and rebricking the exterior. "If one window on one wall leaks, they replace all the windows on that wall so they all match," he said.

If there's a complaint among neighbors, Parsons said, it's frustration because of the time it takes to get work done. Parsons said he first contacted Beazer a year and a half ago. A crew started work Monday.

A Beazer spokesman told Parsons that houses with "obvious mold" or with elderly people or young children living there were getting attention first. "They're concentrating on those people who needed it the worst," he said.

Woodall said about 80 houses have been repaired so far.

The Bakers were among the first to report problems after they saw water puddling inside the front door after a rain, months after they moved in. "We contacted Crossman immediately," Kim Baker said.

Portions of the brick exterior were replaced on two occasions. When mold was found in the living room carpet, the Bakers asked to have the whole house re-bricked. "Instead of putting a Band-Aid on, let's fix it right," she said.

The family moved into Beaumont Farm Apartments for four months, at Beazer's expense, while the brick was stripped away, the house wrapped with a water barrier material, new carpet laid, rooms painted, a new front and back door hung and all new windows installed.

Two of her children had constant stuffed-up noses, coughs and heavy breathing at night, conditions that Baker suspects were caused by mold. When they moved back in after the brick was taken off and replaced, the health problems cleared up, she said.

But problems for the Bakers continue. There's dampness now on basement walls.

The Bakers are particularly annoyed because they have never been given "a straight answer" on what has caused the water problems. "Not even close," Mike Baker said.

Several homeowners said they have been told by workmen and Beazer representatives that there are two main problems. Windows do not fit correctly, so there is not a good seal, allowing water to seep in. And not enough space was left between the brick siding and insulated foam board to allow water to run out. Also, houses were not wrapped with a moistureproof material.

Attorney Woodall said he could not comment on homeowners' allegations because of the pending litigation.

The Parsonses are building a house in another section of Beaumont and have their house up for sale.

Realtor Phyllis Pasch said water problems have dampened sales in The Enclave. "It's affecting the sale of homes right now," she said. "Houses are selling at about the same price as they did last year, about $210,000 to the $240,000s," said Pasch, with Keller Williams Bluegrass Realty, who lives in another section of Beaumont.

"Houses that haven't had the brick fixed yet, they're just sitting on the market." If sellers get offers, they are "very low offers, under $200,000," she said.

She expects prices to rebound when water problems are corrected and new brick faades are added. "We're finding when houses get the brick all done, those houses are selling," she said.

 
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