13 Investigates

Actions

Defects behind the drywall cause nightmare for family in a new home

Posted: 6:07 PM, Sep 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-21 16:56:20-05

It was supposed to be their dream home but a young family says the near half million dollar house they bought turned into a nightmare. 

When we tried to find out who's supposed to provide oversight, we found authorities playing the blame game while homeowners are falling through the cracks.  

It may look like an unfinished home that's still under construction but it was finished. In fact the family moved in and only after living here for a few weeks did they notice problems literally coming out of the woodwork.  

"Let's root down here. Let's buy our dream home," says Tam Gonzales. 

Tam, her wife Ashley and their daughters were dancing for joy when they moved in to their new Henderson home.  

"We know that we can just go right outside, play on the soccer field," says Tam. 

An experienced real estate professional, Tam walked the home many times herself and, because it was brand new, it was permitted and inspected by the City of Henderson as it was built.  

"It was a pristine home," says Tam. "We were so excited."

The excitement didn't last long. I met with Tam at the house for a tour. 

Darcy: "When did you start noticing it was not perfect?"

Tam:  "When we started hanging up pictures. So the first couple of pictures I thought, 'well the frame is crooked of course.' And then it was every one was crooked. And then we started noticing certain walls bowed and sloped out."

Tam called the builder Pardee Homes. 

"So they came over. Started looking at them, measuring them," Tam explains. "They started opening things up. And the more they opened up, then they opened up other places. And it got to the point where there was drywall that had been opened up in every single room and every bathroom of the home."

Exposing problems down to the framing. Pardee started making fixes, shaving down beams, plugging holes with drywall mud and using shims to shore up wood.

 "Over here you can see 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11 shims," says Tam pointing out a wall where approximately 1/4" shims were stacked in what she says appears to be an attempt to make a wall true. 

The family had to pack up and move out for the repairs, but they never returned because Tam claims the fixes led to even bigger problems.

Tam: "Look at this wood. It's half gone." 

Darcy: "You're saying it looks like a beaver chewed this up." 

Tam: "It looks like a beaver chewed it up."

Tam hired an independent structural engineer whose 36-page report details dozens of construction defects.  From poor quality lumber that I saw splinters to the touch.

Darcy: "You can literally just....you can pick the wood apart. It's like toothpicks."

And there are crooked and insecure walls, to doors that don't seal. 

At the house next door a sinkhole opened up underneath the foundation leaving neighbors to question the stability of the very soil these homes are built on. 

Pardee says there's no problem with the soil.  After we began investigating, they fixed the sinkhole and will be making more repairs to an interior wall.  

As for Tam's situation. 

"I emphasize with them," says Carlos Zuluaga is the man in charge of construction at Pardee Homes.   

"There is some things that are out of plum, out of square. All things that could be fixed."

Carlos admits he's not happy with Tam's house. 

"There definitely is issues there that are just way below our standards and we want to make them right."

And he says Pardee is offering the family three options. 

"One is repairing the home," says Carlos.  "One is repurchasing. The third is mediation which is where I'm hoping we're leading to right now."

Darcy: "So why was the family allowed to move in, in the first place?"

Carlos: "Really don't...can't give you a clear answer on that. We are working towards a solution right now to not let this happen ever again."

We tried to question the City of Henderson about their role in all this, but no one from Councilman Dan Shaw to Mayor Debra March would talk to us on camera.  

The city did provide the following statement:

The house at 3066 Casarano passed the City’s building inspections at the time it was built and the City no longer has authority or jurisdiction on the property. Issues that the homeowner has with the house are the responsibility of the home builder/contractor. The Nevada State Contractors Board and the homeowner have both indicated that the builder Pardee is working with the homeowner to resolve the issues.

 

The Contractors Board says there's nothing they can do at this point either.

"Due to the fact that the work was still ongoing, the contractor was attempting to address the issues and the concerns of the homeowner, we did not validate any issues."

Paul Rozario is Director of Investigations.

Darcy: "How do you juggle the impact it has on people's lives with a, 'well...let's just let the contractor do what they want to do?'"

Paul: "Right. It's not a good situation for anyone. I know the contractor is tryig to remedy the situation. The homeowner has their needs, their family to take care of."

A family who feels they've been left to live in limbo, falling through the cracks of the system.

We continue to hear from other homeowners who say Pardee needs to repair their houses also. 

Prior to the on camera interview, Pardee provided the following statement:

For more than 60 years, Pardee Homes Las Vegas has been committed to providing high quality homes to families throughout the Las Vegas Valley. We strive for excellence and take any concern about a home we build - no matter what the nature - very seriously.

When we were made aware of Mrs. Gonzalez’s and Mrs. Baldi’s concerns over the construction of their home, our customer service department contacted Mrs. Gonzalez to begin an evaluation. We have taken numerous steps to investigate construction concerns. Some of the key actions we have taken include: hiring a structural engineer to inspect the home; removing a substantial amount of the drywall in the home so that a thorough review of framing could be completed; holding meetings with Mrs. Gonzalez and Mrs. Baldi and our President and VP of Construction at the home, as well an onsite visit by the Nevada Contractors Board.

Pardee Homes also offered to provide alternative housing, in order for repairs to be less disruptive to Mrs. Gonzalez and Mrs. Baldi, as well as to pay out of pocket living expenses for the duration of the review of the home. The homeowners then denied Pardee Homes access to the home

Subsequently, an offer to re-purchase the home and pay their claimed expenses was made, and although the homeowners have declined the offer, Pardee Homes remained proactive and committed to a resolution.

On September 12, Pardee Homes made another formal offer to repurchase the home from the owners, pay for all the transaction costs associated with the repurchase, and reimburse the homeowners for out-of-pocket expenses. Per the dispute resolution processes in Pardee Homes’ agreement with the homeowners, we have also set up a neutral third-party mediation, at our cost, to facilitate a resolution.

Pardee Homes is hopeful that before or during mediation, the homeowners will clarify the direction that they wish to take - whether a repurchase of the home by Pardee Homes at above market value, an agreement on appropriate repairs to move forward, or litigation. While the homeowners have declined Pardee Homes’ repurchase offers, they have begun to remarket the home themselves. It is the hope of Pardee Homes that they will reconsider the company’s immediate repurchase offer as the solution that will allow them to move forward more quickly than the time it would take to make repairs or sell the home themselves

All of the steps we have taken reflect Pardee Homes’ commitment to quality and best practices for handling situations of this nature. We will continue to proactively follow the appropriate steps for addressing an issue of this kind.

13 Investigates - Send us a tip
Do you have a story idea or tip for 13 Investigates? Fill out the form below.
Are you willing to go on camera?

13 Things to Do In Las Vegas

5:21 PM, Oct 17, 2018