Q: Last September my husband and I bought a 1 yr old duplex from the builder. At the time, there was a noticeable soil erosion problem that the builder recognized and said he would fix. It appeared that he did. However, after the first big rain a month or two later, the soil started eroding again. It is still eroding, but not to the point it was when we bought the house.
In January, we had a professional landscaper take a look and give an estimate of the cost to fix– approximately $5,000. His assessment was that the builder/seller did not fix the problem initially. At the time, we asked the builder to warranty his work and he said that it is not an industry standard to warranty landscaping.
Based on the fact that he didn’t fix the problem, I want to go back to him, as he has resources that I do not, to fix based on the assessment of the landscaper. By the way, the builder’s ex-partner was a landscaper. He was just trying to get it fixed for the closing.
I am in the process of sending the builder a letter along with pictures. My question is do I have legal recourse with the seller/builder?
A: As you know from listening to the show, I am not a real estate attorney. Since your question is somewhat complicated, I asked a real estate attorney to comment. Here are his comments:
You may have recourse against the builder. Some states have laws that give a homeowner protections against defective work completed by a builder/developer. You should probably talk to an attorney about your options. In addition you may want to talk to the developer to see if they will correct the problem. As a word of caution, frequently different people in the same trade will have a different solution for the same problem. I have seen various people suggest and attempt to repair problems that in both cases the solutions did not repair the problem.
Jan. 1, 2004.