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In My Neighborhood in 76542 : Real Estate Advice

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Sun Dec 20, 2009
Grace Hanamoto answered:
Hello Barbara and thanks for your question.

First, let me assure you that you have, thus far, done everything right. You've sent to the developer your list of complaints via certied mail and have kept a copy with the receipt for your records. This will "toll" the 1 year warranty for just those specific items. Keep in mind that the 10 year warranty is probably not a warranty, but a statute of limitations which allows you to sue the builder for what we call "latent" defects that may only become known through passage of time and that affect the functuality, structural integrity and overall condition of the building. This is a common statute in many states, but it should not be construed as a warranty. Unless your paperwork specifically states "warranty of 10 years" for the structure, it is really a statute of limitations and does not provide the same coverage or protection as a warranty.

Now that you've filed the certified letter, if the developer has yet to respond, you can try a few more phone calls to the customer service department to get their attention or schedule times when they can enter your home, but if all else fails, you must move on to the mediation phase. Talk with your attorney about hiring a mediator. You may also find one through the American Arbitration Association in your state or check out their website at www.adr.org. You must present to the developer through certified mail or personal service, a request for mediation, which will require the developer to attend a hearing to work out any specific issues with you.

In the meantime, you may certainly contact the BBB to file a complaint. Once a complaint is filed, the BBB will attempt to contact the developer (normally) through email to request that they provide a written response to your complaint. Both the your complaint and their response will be filed on their website for other consumers to review. The BBB, however, will NOT intervene on your behalf nor attempt to get the developer to do the work you've requested, so you must proceed with mediation on your own if you cannot get the developer to help you.

Good luck!!

Sincerely,
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA
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