A sewer cleanout that should be at or above the ground was buried feet underground by Lennar (formerly WCI Communities) and may be the case of many homes at the Westshore Yacht Club.
I originally found out about the issue when I organized and paid for my own inspections after a frustrating one-year warranty repair walkthrough with Bob Harrower. I wouldn’t have realized there was a problem – until I needed it. I didn’t even know what it was and what it is for at the time, but it’s important. You’ve likely seen the sewer cleanout in your yard, and it looks like the picture below.
There was never a debate about it not being done properly, the fight for years has been that the builder just wanted to replace the mulch when it was done. I spent thousands on landscaping because Lennar’s landscaping was – nothing special.
To give you an idea, the sewer cleanout it in a small area between the porch and the sidewalk. All of this would need to be taken away to bring the sewer cleanout to grade. The builder just wanted to throw on some mulch. The mulch is one of the first things I had replaced with the landscaping.
As well, the builder kept arguing that I voided the warranty because I ‘altered the landscaping.’ First, that’s not true and I’ve never been able to find that anywhere. Second, then everyone in the neighborhood voided their warranties. WCI/Lennar originally said it also wasn’t a construction defect. See the responses that change below.
A bigger problem in the Westshore Yacht Club?
I was walking my dogs one day and decided to look for the sewer cleanout in other homes built during this phase. Not surprisingly, I didn’t find one I could find in my model home built during this phase.
Here is the history on this issue that’s gone on for 4.5 years.
Here’s the summary from all of construction issues I keep in a spreadsheet.
*Note: For simplicity, the Lennar and WCI Communities names here are used interchangeably as Lennar took over WCI in February of 2017.
2013-2014 – First issues were reported to WCI. The initial responses were from Joel Fedora who is now a Vice President of Construction with Lennar.
Late-2014 – Towards the end of the year, I retained Amanda Buffinton (at the time a shareholder at Bush Ross) to start working the legal side of the issues, because nothing was getting resolved. The first Lennar in-house legal response happens around this time.
July 2015 – The case expands and WCI moves the case from in-house to outside legal. The outside legal responses are from this time.
September 2015 – Amanda Buffington files a 558 complaint against WCI/Lennar to start the process of filing a construction lawsuit.
October 2015 – Lennar’s outside legal sends a response to the 558 complaint. Their response was completely untrue. It’s the same attorney who provided the first outside legal response in July 2015.
Sewer cleanout issue description
The sanitary sewer from the cleanout in the garage to property line is satisfactory; however, the cleanout near the sidewalk is not to grade and needs to be brought up to grade. It is buried feet under the plant bedding closest to the house and sidewalk. Areas are marked with orange flags.
Original response to sewer cleanout issue from Joel Fedora
WCI will have a plumber address this issue.
Lennar in-house legal response to sewer cleanout issue
WCI will schedule RT More to complete this repair (raise the clean out to existing grade).
Amanda Buffinton legal response to Lennar about sewer cleanout issue
Accepted. However, Mr. Fannin requests that WCI be responsible for repairing any landscaping that is damaged during this repair.
Buffinton response to Lennar outside legal (prior to filing the 558)
WCI added to response – “WCI will bring one bag of mulch.” This response is unacceptable as the area does not have mulch. The pre-existing material is lava rock and the area should have the same appearance after the repair as the appearance was before the repair including the replacement of sod (together with preparation of the sod to enable it to take root).
Final WCI outside legal response to 558 complaint
This is not a construction defect and the warranty was voided by the Homeowner installed landscaping.
Lennar executive’s response on 5/22/2017
Extend clean out of sanitary sewer to grade level. Lennar will repair any damaged landscaping.