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National homebuilder to fork over $78 million in Florida construction defect settlement

The problems surfaced back in 2016 when a Florida homeowners association tried to hire a company to paint the exteriors of their townhouses near Orlando. The association was puzzled when the painting company turned down the job, citing construction defects.

According to a news report, homeowners didn't believe the company at first, but took a closer look at their homes and saw why the paint job had been declined. Rotting wood, mold and water damage were evident, as were horizontal cracks in the stucco exteriors.

That was the first step in the process that led to the recent announcement that the developer of those homes - Pulte Home Company - recently settled construction defect claims for homeowners across Florida for more than $78 million.

According to news reports, Pulte has already spent $64 million on repairs for the affected homes, the Florida Attorney General's Office said. The company will also be required to pay $4.7 million to homeowners who incurred out-of-pocket expenses.

The Florida Attorney General's Office said the homes failed to meet state construction standards and that the company failed to disclose that fact to homeowners. It also denied repair claims and withheld some customer deposits.

The stucco problems first became evident in Windermere in homes built by Pulte.

The settlement requires Pulte to repair affected homes and compensate homeowners for any damages caused. Pulte is to repair new homes up to two years old as of last July and must repair and repaint homes between two and 10 years old with exterior cracks over wood frames.

The case is more evidence of the positive results that can be obtained by homeowners associations that press construction defect claims with the assistance of experienced construction litigation attorneys.

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