Blight Christmas! | News
BRADENTON, Fla. - The homeowners of the Willowbrook Townhomes, built by KB Home, wish they had your problems this Christmas.
Instead of spending hours cooking, cleaning, and preparing for guests, many of the residents are trying to avoid their leaky, moldy, distressed homes .... all of which are between two and five years old.
"It's honestly embarrassing," said Willowbrook resident Amanda Dillon. "It makes you not want to have people over."
10 News has followed the plight of the Willowbrook homeowners who have dealt with crumbling balconies, mold, and other water-intrustion-related issues for months. Some residents have had to move out. And 10 News has identified similar problems at nearly a dozen other KB Home-built complexes around Tampa Bay.
KB Home promises to fix the problems, but residents complain the promises have failed to fix much of anything over the years and they want to be compensated or relocated.
Undeterred, KB began major repairs of the two buildings at the entrance of Willowbrook last month, but it quickly became clear to homeowner Armando Oyolo-Delgado that the problems were worse than KB had first thought. With dozens of potentially damaged buildings across the complex, Oyolo-Delgado is expecting more blue Christmases in his future.
"It's just not a happy place to be," homeowner Armando Oyolo-Delgado said of Willowbrook. "The more (walls that contractors) go through, the more rot (they) find."
Contractors have the rear of two buildings completely covered with tarps to prevent open living rooms from the elements. But not only is the construction an eyesore, it's extremely loud and there's no telling when crews could finish.
Representatives from KB Home refused interviews despite a week's worth of requests and offers to accommodate busy schedules. They also refused phone interviews and when Regional President George Glance was reached on his cell phone, he said he was too busy to address Willowbrook's problems.
"We appreciate your patience and there will be a point where KB/George is available for an interview and I will certainly reach out to you first for that," said KB Home spokesperson Cara Kane via email. "Our focus remains on Willowbrook and as we continue to make progress we will certainly share any updates."
Kane refused to address any individual homeowner's problems, but provided the following update:
- We are working closely with the Willowbrook Condominium Association to ensure that their selected contractor has the necessary resources to properly make exterior repairs to the homes. The Associations' assigned contractor is currently conducting repairs on 18 homes and actively permitting subsequent homes for future repairs.
- KB Home has reached out to each address with an unsafe condition as determined by Manatee County and offered a temporary repair until the Association's contractor can perform the permanent repair on each home.
- It is a top priority for KB Home to support the exterior construction process while ensuring the interior repairs are conducted in a timely and professional manner. We have assigned a full-time KB rep. to schedule and oversee the interior repairs once the Association's contractor has completed the engineer-prescribed exterior repairs. We will provide ongoing customer service to support both the exterior construction process as well as any unrelated repairs that need to be addressed within the community.
According to the Manatee County Building Department, KB Home and the contractors have been working closely with the county on permitting and have recently pulled permits to begin removing the stucco on a third Willowbrook building.
But many other buildings at the complex will still be waiting for their first repairs when the sun comes up over Willowbrook on Christmas morning.
If you've been a victim of poor KB Home work, contact 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous KB Home coverage:
12/12/12 - Upset homeowners plan multi-complex protest
10/30/12 - Angry homeowners confront county building codes czar
10/17/12 - Is KB Home fixing condos or just the stucco?
10/17/12 - Manatee Commissioners getting more active
10/12/12 - Homeowners complain KB "Band-Aids" not working
10/9/12 - Willowbrook residents confront Manatee commissioners
10/4/12 - Nine years of failed fixes from KB Home
10/2/12 - State Senator pleads for AG to investigate KB
9/28/12 - Anomalies found in Willowbrook inspections
9/26/12 - Willowbrook victims seeking legal help
9/19/12 - Frustrated homeowners confront KB executive
9/13/12 - 10 News reveals KB whistleblowers tried to warn homeowners
8/8/12 - Willowbrook homeowners meet with state senator
8/4/12 - Homeowners demanding justice from KB Home