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