Posted on July 11, 2012 at 3:33 PM
Wednesday, Jul 11 at 6:02 PM
SAN ANTONIO – From the ceilings and walls in nearly every room, Melinda Ruiz has hung sticky notes instead of family portraits, pinpointing times and dates when Ruiz said the trusses in her attic began to fail, pushing apart her ceiling and walls.
“This is not a home. This is a structure. This is not my home anymore. I’ve stopped painting, I don’t decorate anymore,” said Ruiz.
The sticky notes draw attention away from the living room floor, where she says a foundation crack has split her house in two.
Ruiz said, “This started as a hairline crack. And when I mentioned it to Pulte there was epoxy put down and I was told it was normal.”
Pulte said each homeowner’s problems are unique.
But Ruiz said that at least 5 homes in a row—including hers-- have foundation issues. Cracks travel across the bases of her neighbors’ homes like spider veins.
And Ruiz said her next-door-neighbor has been put in a hotel by Pulte, while its construction crews fix the foundation.
Ruiz can’t actually see what is happening at her neighbor's house because the home-builder put up a 24-hour guard and security fence. But she can feel the jackhammer. She says it may have caused her tile to erupt from the floor near her couch.
"Obviously it’s not just the soil. It’s that something has seriously gone wrong here,” said Janet Ahmad with Homeowners for Better Building, a non-profit group that is seeking tougher state and local laws for home-builders.
Ahmad said the foundation problems mask a deeper problem: that Pulte built the Fairhaven subdivision on land unsuitable for homes. She is critical of Schertz city leaders for not addressing the dozens of homeowners who crowd city council meetings to complain.
Pulte’s Valerie Dolenga said an independent engineer was sought for some of the home issues along the 5400 block of Storm King and that 4 homes have been repaired.
Dolenga said some of the remaining houses should be repaired by the end of summer.
“If given the opportunity to repair valid warranty issues - and Pulte is committed to doing so, there is no reason to entertain the prospect of repurchasing homes,” said Dolenga in an email statement to KENS-5.
And repurchasing the home is exactly what Ruiz wants. She said Pulte has already fixed her floor 4 times.
“I don’t want Pulte to come in here and continue fixing things for the rest of my life or the rest of this home’s life because it’s under warranty," she said. "I don’t want Pulte in my life. I’m sorry, but I don’t. I want to move on.”