Devastated! I do not know how else to say it.cracking wall
We noticed our foundation was getting some cracks in it last year. I thought it was from the house settling. Then I said, “Why would the foundation be doing this now, my house was built in 1989? The foundation should not be cracking. This is not normal.”
So we started looking all the way around the foundation and were so upset what we saw cracks everywhere. We then took a good look in the cellar and found nasty cracks. We have one area that when you touch it, the concrete just crumbles off. I got my paperwork out from when the house was built, and there it was: J.J. Mottes.
cracking wallThis is awful. How many of us are affected by this? Someone needs to be held responsible for this crisis, and it will not be us the homeowners!
– Homeowners, Vernon
We bought our brand new house in February 1985 and noticed the first cracks eight years later in 1993. The builder told us to document it and keep an eye on the cracking. In 1995 we excavated backfill to expose the foundation. The town building inspector told us he was going to condemn the house if it was not fixed right away.
So our saga began.
Many tests and expenses later, we found out our foundation had failed. We are the first foundation to have this problem in Connecticut, which means no contractor had ever encountered or knew how to fix the failed foundation. Our builder informed us that J.J. Mottes of Stafford supplied the concrete. They did their own testing and informed us they would never admit doing anything wrong. We contacted our insurance agent and were told we were not covered for a failed foundation. We qualified for a HUD loan through the town and hired a lawyer. Around this time we heard of two other houses in Tolland with failed foundations built in 1984; concrete also supplied by Mottes.
It took us eight years to litigate in the courts to find out that the judge took the 10 years statute of limitations from when the builder placed the concrete in spring of 1983, not when we purchased the new house in February 1984. This put us just a few weeks over 10 years. None of the experts who tested our concrete could agree on what went wrong with the concrete. They just agreed that it failed. Mottes was very happy with this outcome and went back to doing business as usual.
Before the court litigation had finished, I had contacted State Representative Mike Cardin, State Senator Tony Guglielmo, Consumer Protection Gordon Frassinelli, Senator Gary LeBeau, the Attorney General’s office, and many more. A meeting was scheduled at the state building for more than 100 homeowners with failed foundations and many lawmakers (the room was overflowing). A bill was to be proposed to the General Assembly in January 2003 (LCO # 296). The act would expand warranty periods under the new home warranty act. This would give us a 20-year statute of limitations. This sounded great. We were all set. Something was going to get done. But I found out through many phone calls and doors shut in my face that the ball had been dropped: Once by Consumer Protection, which closed my complaint because lack of a pattern (15 to 20 others had put in complaints at that time and more followed), and than our lawmakers, who apparently could not figure out how to word the bill.
So we fixed the foundation and sold the house, payed the HUD loan, attorney fee, and court costs with our retirement fund and inheritance. We will be working into our 70s.
– Homeowners, Tolland
Our foundation was poured by J.J. Mottes in the fall of 1984 and we moved into the house in July 1985. We cannot remember when the first hairline cracks appeared, but we just assumed this was due to “settling,” being completely unaware of how serious it would turn out to be. As time went on, we filled cracks and painted the walls inside and out.
In 2012-2013, we sought help from a basement repair company, who advised us to have power braces installed to the tune of $26,000. We were told that the condition wouldn’t “get any worse,” plus the guarantee would be transferred to anyone buying our house in the future. Of course, this was inaccurate, and they never brought up the possibility of crumbling basement walls. We mistakenly took their word and trusted them.
Not long ago, we were made aware of our dilemma through newspaper articles, TV news, as well as a friend with the same problem. We met with a lawyer, and sent the required forms to the Department of Consumer Protection and State representatives. Core samples were taken but no results as of yet. After consulting with an engineer, it was determined that we’re in the same situation as many other homeowners in this area.
We’ve always taken pride in our home and actually enjoyed working to improve our property. But as we’re often heard to say: “At 80 years old, this is our time to relax.” We planned to sell and relocate to an apartment complex where our lives would be simpler. Our “nest egg” will be greatly diminished since the cost of repairing is substantial, yet it’s impossible to sell without having the work done.
We empathize with everyone in this situation, especially the young families with mortgages, plus additional expenses and responsibilities at this stage of their lives.
This is our story. We’re extremely grateful to all the people for their efforts in trying to help all of us….many, many thanks!
– Homeowner, Ellington
We purchased our home in Somers in 2005. At that time, the home inspector we hired noticed a few hairline cracks in the basement walls, but felt they were “cosmetic” in nature, and rated the condition of the foundation as “good.” Boy it sure would have been nice if the State of Connecticut had issued advisories to realtors/inspectors when they first knew of this problem back in 2002. Of course that was not the case, so we—the homebuyer—and the home inspector, were unaware of the concrete problem. We trusted our inspector’s judgement and bought the house. As the years went on, we noticed those cracks were getting bigger; and suddenly, there were quite a few more of them. When we saw a front page article about this topic in the Journal Inquirer, we recognized the similarity to our own home and knew instantly we had a huge problem. At a neighborhood party we casually mentioned it to see if anyone else on the street had this issue as well. It turned out that at least two other homes did. They were built by the same builder as ours, so likely used the same contractors and materials.
We have had a structural engineer—Bill Neal—complete an inspection and report, and he has confirmed what we already suspected, our foundation is not sound and must be replaced. We filed a claim along with Bill’s report, with the State Department of Consumer Protection. As we look at trying to fix this problem, there aren’t any options. The enormous cost to repair is a burden that will threaten our ability to retire with dignity. It’s devastating to know our home, which we bought at the height of the market and sunk more money into to make improvements, is now—11 years later—impossible to sell, and is of nominal value at best. We are hopeful that if all those affected by this natural disaster continue to stand together, something positive, in the way of relief, will come out of it.
– Homeowners, Somers