On Your Side: builder repairs home out of warranty

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A Richmond homeowner finally has peace of mind about cracks in the walls of her two-year old home. We got some work done, and answers to questions that were troubling her.

It was a learning experience for the first time homeowner. She now knows when the homeowner's responsibility begins and the builder's ends. She's relieved we took her complaint seriously and investigated.

"He put a sealant on it and he put a strip. He's going to come back 2 or 3 more times," homeowner Roslyn Phillips showed us. "A whole lot of peace of mind. I didn't have the money to repair and I didn't think that I should be the one to repair it."

Roslyn Phillips knows now the warranty dictates who pays. She bought her home brand new two years ago through Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. When she discovered the wall cracks, the builder, Hearthside Homes and the Housing Authority determined repairs were her responsibility. The one year warranty had expired.

"I thought my home was falling down. I thought the walls were just coming apart. I didn't understand what was going on. I didn't have anyone to come out and explain it to me," she said.

It wasn't falling down. In fact Certified Home Inspector Scooter Burgess, who agreed to trouble shoot for us for free, says Roslyn has a good home.

He found no structural problems but did point out some unfinished work in the attic and crawlspace. "They added the sewer line after they put down all this plastic and they should have taken and filled that back in and sealed it back up with plastic again where moisture can't get in it," Burgess showed us.

I called Hearthside Homes owner, Larry Atkins, about four problems unrelated to the cracks. He appreciated the notice and immediately corrected them all. As a courtesy, the builder is even taping and painting the sheet rock gaps, which are home maintenance issues and no longer covered under warranty.

"Technically, it wasn't their responsibility and I do appreciate them. I feel like they did go above and beyond to accommodate a homeowner and I very much appreciate that but  there were some things that were suppose to have been done in the beginning that wasn't done and had I not called you guys, I  would have never known," Roslyn said. "I thank Mr. Burgess and I also that Hearthside Homes for working with me to get this problem corrected."

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority requires residents to attend first time homebuyer's classes. They learn about warranties and home maintenance, like cleaning gutters, painting and changing filters. Typically, after a year, repairs are the homeowner's responsibility except for appliances and major issues.

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