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Lennar Homes trouble brew in Texas
Monday, 24 September 2007

Hutto residents protest Lennar subdivision
Since purchasing their new homes, numerous residents of the Hutto Parke subdivision say they have found cracks and nail pops in their walls and ceilings, foundation problems and defective roof trusses - and do not want others to have to experience the same. Residents allege the subdivision's homebuilder, Lennar Corp., sold them "defective homes" and lied on Housing and Urban Development documents, claiming the homes were built on un-expansive soil.

Hutto residents protest Lennar subdivision
By KATHRYN EAKENS

Leader Staff      

             
          Lennar homeowners in the Hutto Parke subdivision Saturday protest
          grand opening of the company’s newest development in the city,
          Hutto Highlands, claiming the company lied on documents and sold 
          them defective homes.

HUTTO - Since purchasing their new homes, numerous residents of the Hutto Parke subdivision say they have found cracks and nail pops in their walls and ceilings, foundation problems and defective roof trusses - and do not want others to have to experience the same.

Residents allege the subdivision's homebuilder, Lennar Corp., sold them "defective homes" and lied on Housing and Urban Development documents, claiming the homes were built on un-expansive soil.

Homeowners presented their case to the Hutto City Council at Thursday's meeting before convening to protest in front the grand opening of Lennar's newest subdivision in the city, Hutto Highlands, located on FM 1660 Saturday and Sunday.

Residents - ranging from families who purchased the builder's homes as their first through those preparing to enjoy their retirement - asked council members for a letter to Lennar addressing their issues as well as to consider barring the company from any new development in the city.

"We are experiencing numerous problems with our home and many other homeowners are having their houses gutted in an effort to repair the problems that, in my opinion, are ultimately stemming from highly expansive soil," said Natalie Crump, a Hutto Parke resident. "Lennar certified to us, HUD and our mortgage company that the soil isn't expansive."

Crump said the company acknowledged the repair of 90 houses in the neighborhood in a letter delivered to residents and that repairs to another 20 homes will be made by the end of the month.

"We are aware that there are some homeowners in your community that are apparently unhappy with their home and the community," Lennar Austin Division President Galen Whisnand said in the letter, dated Aug. 31. "We understand that these homeowners may be communicating with your community with respect to their concerns. We hope, however, that you will allow Lennar Homes to rectify any issues you may have with your home."

Whisnand could not be reached for further comment.

She and other residents are concerned Lennar is only addressing what the company calls "cosmetic issues" - not the source of the problem - and that the extensive repairs are drastically decreasing the value of their new homes.

"Even if you haven't had any problems with your house, the more houses they repair the more the value goes down," said Crump.

Dan McDowell, chief building official for the city, presented his evaluation of the development to the council and members said they would look into the situation further. Though limited in their actions, council members said, if necessary, they would take those steps within their power to assist current homeowners and prevent such situations in the future.

Crump and other homeowners recently signed on with two Austin law firms, Cantey Hanger and Galow Smith, who are currently working together on litigation with Lennar for deceptive trade practices.

"We just want Lennar to buy back our house," Crump said. "Some people just want to be compensated for the depreciation the repairs have caused.

"You just don't expect this to happen with a brand new home."
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