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January 7, 2005 8:49 AM CST

Homeowners Seek Legal Help For Leaks

By

Sections of wood floors have been ripped out of two rooms in Sandi Williams' $211,000 house, revealing dried swirls of glue and the gray concrete foundation pad. She constantly checks for mold in her partially rolled-up carpeting and along the baseboards...

Like an estimated 2,000 or more homeowners in Central Florida, she discovered her house leaked ? most likely through the concrete-block walls ? when three hurricanes swept through last summer.

And like almost everyone else with wet interiors, she found no one was willing to help. The builder refused. So did her insurance carrier ? which contended the seepage was the result of construction defects. And the government officials who license the builders and enforce the building code say they're powerless to act on the homeowners' behalf...

Williams is one of a growing number of aggrieved Central Florida homeowners banding together with an attorney to fight their builder...

The idea is to convince M/I, Ryland, Levitt ? or any other builder balking at repairs ? that it is cheaper to fix the homes than go to court and defend against multiple lawsuits. "We want to give them a chance [to fix the houses]," Haggard said.

Water made its way through masonry walls of houses all over Central Florida during hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne.


About the Author

The Orlando Sentinel is the comprehensive resource for Orlando news and breaking news around Central Florida. Read the Orlando Sentinel online at www.orlandosentinel.com.

 

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