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If you have a problem with your home and your builder says it is no longer covered by warranty, call the Nevada State Contractors Board to verify this information and/or file a complaint.

Many problems/ defects are covered by the Nevada Law for several years after the warranty is expired.

Only the Contractors Board can give you accurate information.

(775) 688-1141   Reno
(775) 688-1141   Las Vegas

Nevada State Contractors Board


How many construction defect cases are pending in Clark County right now and which builders are involved ?

click here to find out ...


 

The Home Show with Lark Williams

Buyer Beware Web page and Homeowner Advocate Newsletter

This page is comprised of information sent in by concerned residents who are not necessarily experts in the building or real estate fields. If you find any inaccuracies on this page or if you are an expert in the building or real estate field and want to add something to this page, please send us an email.

Categories

ATTORNEYS, FEES

Under Chapter 40, the builder is required to pay the homeowners’ attorneys’ fees.  Cases can be handled without any up front costs to the client.  The attorney can get paid by the builder after the homeowner gets paid.  The great part of Chapter 40 is that the attorney fee is not taken out of the homeowners’ recovery.

In a personal injury case, if the injured person wins $100,00 and there is a 30% contingency fee, the injured person walks away with $70,000 and the attorney gets $30,000.  Whereas, in a Chapter 40 case, if the homeowner is awarded $100,000, the home owner walks away with $100,000.  Then the builder pays an additional $30,000 to the homeowner’s attorney.  Additionally, the builder has to pay the homeowner’s experts.

*BINDING ARBITRATION (avoiding binding arbitration due to having a Government-Insured Mortgage)

E mail from HADD Secretary, 

Hello, I'm the national secretary for Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings.  One of the issues we see in most complaints is how home buyers are hamstrung by mandatory arbitration clauses in builder and warranty contracts.  Arbitration prevents the customer from suing if the builder does not hold up their end of the bargain.  Instead, disputes are heard privately by a supposedly neutral arbitrator.  The problems are too many to post here, but one of the main ones is the potential for bias in favor of the industry, since arbitrators do repeat business with the industry, not the individual home owners.  A home owner still needs to hire a lawyer for arbitration, too.  It can be hard to find a good lawyer because these cases aren't profitable unless they are class action lawsuits, usually.

That said, there is one strong possibility to avoid the arbitration clause in a warranty policy if the buyer has a government insured mortgage.  It is Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 203.204(g).  (Citation: 24 CFR 204.204(g))  Be sure to give your lawyer that information if you have a govt insured mortgage and are being told you must arbitrate.  He or she should be able to use it to your advantage.  This is information I got from HADD when I first had my construction defect case, and I used it successfully myself.  Some volunteer in the distant past had apparently found this regulation and it became part of the cumulative knowledge of HADD.  The warranty companies know this but unless YOU know it and work to enforce it they will not necessarily follow it.  Sadly, we don't know of any examples where it was determined if the regulation applies to strictly builder contracts; this is in regard to "warranties," which can be a 3rd party company.  Your lawyer can advise you.

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*BULDING PERMITS

For the City of Las Vegas

Building and Safety Records
call ahead and for an appointment
300 N. Las Vegas Blvd.

Corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Stewart.
Across from City Hall in the City Annex Bldg. 702/229-6916

For Clark County

Building Permits issued by Development Services Administration at the Permit Counter

4701 W. Russell Rd., 702/455-3000

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*BUILDING PLANS

The building code states that a builder cannot deviate from the building plan. The building plan shows that all of the building codes have been met. Building Plans are a matter of public record. If you or your inspector wants to see your building plan go to Building and Safety Records. You can not copy nor take the building plan with you. However, if your house does not follow the building plan, you can contact the Director of Public Works or get a full refund if you prefer to cancel the contract.

DIRECTOR'S OFFICE

Denis L. Cederburg, P.E., 500 Grand Central Pky, Las Vegas NV 89155-4000

Tel: 702.455.6000
Fax: 702.455.6040

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*CANCELING THE PURCHASE OF A NEW HOUSE DUE TO PROBLEMS/DEFECTS THE BUILDER REFUSES TO FIX

Has your builder asked you close on a house that has defects/problems or in some way is not suitable for closing? Are you considering walking away from the purchase of your house due to unresolved issues? Is the builder threatening to keep the money you have invested in the house thus far?

One Las Vegas resident solved his problem by taking these steps:

Contact the Department of Business and Industry, Real Estate Division. 2501 E. Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89104. Phone (702)486-4033, Fax (702)486-4275 http://red.state.nv.us

Canceling the Purchase of House

In a sales transaction, the builder and their sales agent are considered one in the same. If your sales person asks you to close on a home that has unresolved problems or defects, it is considered a breach of contract; i.e. the agent is not selling the house they promised.

Write a letter to the president of the company explaining the defects/problems with the house and that their salesperson has breached the contract. Ask for a full refund.

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*CONCERNS/COMPLAINTS- Where to post them on the internet. Contact your local and state representatives.

*A concerned senior citizen sent in an email stating that her case against her builder was dismissed in small claims court due to the fact that she sent in the requests for work via the builder's "warranty work request" on the builder's web site. As it turns out, only registered/certified/return receipt mail will stand up in a Nevada court of law.

*DEPOSITS

see above category, Canceling Purchase of a New Home due to Problems/Defects

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*EMINENT DOMAIN

Eminent domain refers to the government's right to take private land. Recently, this power has been abused by government officials.

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*EXPANSIVE SOIL

Expansive soil is soil that expands when it gets wet. It then contracts when it dries. This expansion and contraction can cause the foundation, walls, and/or ceiling of a house to crack. Builders in Nevada are not required to do soil testing on each individual house lot; only 1 soil test is required for an entire community. Therefore, if the area tested is not expansive, that in no way guarantees that there are no lots with expansive soil in the entire subdivision. If a house is built on expansive soil, the builder is NOT required to make architectural modifications that will help prevent the sinking, cracking,and/or moving of a house built on expansive soil.

It is buyer beware in the state of Nevada when dealing with sinking houses built on expansive soil. If a buyer signs a document that states they are aware their house is being built on expansive soil, they have basically given up their right to sue or recover damages that may occur from the unstable soil. Therefore, once the condition of expansive soil has been exposed to the buyer, the buyer has NO legal recourse.

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*EXTRAPOLATION

This refers to an attorney's ability to treat all homes the same in a class action lawsuit regardless of some individual differences in the houses/defects. This makes it easier for homeowners to band together and prompt builders to make repairs. This may be an issue in the upcoming Nevada Legislative Session in February, 2007.

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*FLOOR JOISTS AND TOILETS

This Richmond American homeowner discovered that his toilet was not bolted down correctly when someone stepped in toilet water. Unfortunately, when the toilet and OSB were removed, he also discovered that the floor joists were too far apart. The maximum joist spacing per code depends on the type of wood used and the amount of load on the floor (pounds per square inch).  However, the absolute largest span allowed under the code in any circumstances is 24”.  See R5032.3.1(1) of the 2000 IRC.  This is a constructional defect."

This homeowner has 3 options: ask Richmond American to fix the toilet and the floor joists. File a complaint with the Nevada State Contractors Board, or file a lawsuit.

Incorrectly installed floor joists can cause things like sagging floors; in extreme cases, the bathtub or toilet may fall through the floor and land in your kitchen.

This picture shows the original floor joists are 26 inches apart. This picture shows how the toilet was originally installed. The toilet sat on this small piece of wood, which in turn rested on the black pipe. Las Vegas Lemonade is trying to locate a picture of a correctly installed toilet for educational purposes.

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*FREE ASSISTANCE WITH AN UNRESPONSIVE BUILDER

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*LULLING

"Lulling" is a term used to describe a technique used by customer service representatives and/or builders. Basically, a homeowner reports a problem with a home. The builder responds by sending someone out to repair it and says "we'll get back to you.." The builder drags out the repair effort until the warranty is expired.

If you are a victim of "lulling," some problems/defects are covered by the Nevada Law even after the home warranty has expired. Contact the Nevada State Contractors Board or an attorney for information.

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MOLD

Renee Haynes. Homeowner located in Oregon whose children were affected by Aspergillus mold. 509/535-2502.
Haynes Family Story
Letter with information about mold as it relates to child development, resources

**If your child displays language delays and/or learning disorders after exposure to mold, a doctor can determine if mold antibodies have entered their bloodstream.

Aspergillus Mold destroys health of Las Vegas Resident

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*MORTGAGE FRAUD/PREDATORY LENDING

Think you're a victim of mortgage fraud or predatory lending? In Las Vegas call the Mortgage Division and ask for Brice. (..more info to come ..) Or, contact the local National Association of Mortgage Brokers and ask them to review your loan documents.

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*MORTGAGES, Government Insured

Houses built on expansive soil cannot be approved for government insured mortgages. If your house is sinking and/or cracking due to expansive soil and you have a government insured mortgage, your builder may have made a false representation to the mortgage company.

Avoiding Binding Arbitration due to a Government Insured Mortgage

Hello, I'm the national secretary for Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings.  One of the issues we see in most complaints is how home buyers are hamstrung by mandatory arbitration clauses in builder and warranty contracts.  Arbitration prevents the customer from suing if the builder does not hold up their end of the bargain.  Instead, disputes are heard privately by a supposedly neutral arbitrator.  The problems are too many to post here, but one of the main ones is the potential for bias in favor of the industry, since arbitrators do repeat business with the industry, not the individual home owners.  A home owner still needs to hire a lawyer for arbitration, too.  It can be hard to find a good lawyer because these cases aren't profitable unless they are class action lawsuits, usually.

That said, there is one strong possibility to avoid the arbitration clause in a warranty policy if the buyer has a government insured mortgage.  It is Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 203.204(g).  (Citation: 24 CFR 204.204(g))  Be sure to give your lawyer that information if you have a govt insured mortgage and are being told you must arbitrate.  He or she should be able to use it to your advantage.  This is information I got from HADD when I first had my construction defect case, and I used it successfully myself.  Some volunteer in the distant past had apparently found this regulation and it became part of the cumulative knowledge of HADD.  The warranty companies know this but unless YOU know it and work to enforce it they will not necessarily follow it.  Sadly, we don't know of any examples where it was determined if the regulation applies to strictly builder contracts; this is in regard to "warranties," which can be a 3rd party company.  Your lawyer can advise you.

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*NEVADA LEGISLATURE

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*SOIL REPORTS

The builder's agent must show the buyer the soil report within 5 days after the initial signing of a contract. If the agent does not show the buyer the soil report in 5 days, the buyer has 20 days from the initial signing to cancel the contract with a full refund.

If a builder tries to retain the buyer's deposit once they have cancelled the contract due to not having access to a soil report or concerns regarding information in the soil report, contact the Real Estate Division.

Soil reports are kept on file for 1 year and then destroyed. Homeowners can see their soil report in the these offices.

For the City of Las Vegas
Building and Safety Records
call ahead and for an appointment
300 N. Las Vegas Blvd.

Corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Stewart.
Across from City Hall in the City Annex Bldg. 702/229-6916

For Clark County
Building Permits issued by Development Services Administration at the Permit Counter
4701 W. Russell Rd., 702/455-3000

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*WARRANTIES

NRS 116.4115(2) states in relevant part: “With respect to a purchaser of a unit that may be occupied for residential use, no general disclaimer of implied warranties of quality is effective, but a declarant and any dealer may disclaim liability in an instrument signed by the purchaser for a specified defect or specified failure to comply with applicable law, if the defect or failure entered into and became a part of the basis of the bargain.”

In other words, a builder cannot limit the warranty to less than the statute of limitation (8 and 10 years) unless the builder specifically identifies the items not warranted.  To be effective, the builder would have to say “I offer no warranty on the plumbing, walls, stucco, soils, electrical systems, HVAC etc.”   If the builder does not do so (and no builder does so), the owner and all subsequent owners have at least 8 years to bring a claim for defects no matter what the builder says.

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