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Willowbrook owners react to KB Home investigation | News

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Willowbrook owners react to KB Home investigation

BRADENTON, Fla. -- A day after the 10 News Investigators discovered former KB Home employees accused the homebuilder of deceiving condo-buyers, homeowners in the Willowbrook Townhomes are vowing to use the findings to recover their losses.

Mold, rotting wood, and collapsing balconies plague the complex and two federal lawsuits allege KB Home knew of structural defects as far back as June 2007. However, while dozens of homes closed that summer, it was several months before KB let anyone know of any problem.

State law (FSS 475.278) requires all home-sellers to disclose "all known facts that materially affect the value of residential real property." 

KB Home acknowledged "structural defects" to 10 News on Friday, but indicated neither the timing nor the severity of the issues in 2007 should be of concern to homeowners.

Yet Willowbrook residents who spoke to 10 News on Friday said it illustrates the lies and failures they've gotten used to from KB Home.

"KB has done nothing but lies, since I've moved in," said Kelly Hayes, a mother of four, including a 10-month-old boy. "I have to keep my son from eating the paint that's chipping away off my window because of leaking water."

KB Home has struck a deal with the Willowbrook homeowner's association to repair roof and balconies that are damaged, but residents say they're used to "patchwork" fixes that don't fix anything at all. Since Willowbrook opened in 2007, KB has had to make numerous repairs of significance, including the replacement of entire sides of buildings.

"Nobody will buy a home in this neighborhood because of the issues that are going on," said Hayes. "Mortgage brokers have blacklisted us .... cash-buyers only, and who would want to pay cash for a condo that's falling apart?"

State Rep. Greg Stubbe, R-Bradenton, saw the 10 News Investigation and said the discoveries of possible deception could open up legal options for homeowners - even though the homeowners signed "no-sue" arbitration clauses at closing.  However, he said most of those options could take a very long time.

"It's going to be a while before these residents have anything fixed in their homes," he said.

While Stubbe talks to his fellow legislators about possible fixes to prevent future homebuilder problems, he has been in touch with Attorney General Pam Bondi's office about an investigation.  In turn, her office has turned complaints over to the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) to investigate.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips to noah@wtsp.com.


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