National News

Residents say national builder promised dream homes, sold nightmares

Posted July 25

— Customers say they were sold a dream that quickly became a nightmare.

They are blaming a popular company that's built thousands of homes across Middle Tennessee, but the News 4 I-Team discovered that complaints about the home-builder stretch far beyond Nashville.

Ryan Homes, which is based in Virginia, has constructed at least 17 subdivisions in Middle Tennessee. Nationwide the company has built more than 400,000 houses, mostly targeting first-time home buyers.

Some homeowners who spoke to the I-Team say they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for what they say turned out to be a cheap product.

"It was supposed to be my dream home, but it's turned out not to be my dream home -- it's actually turned out to be a nightmare," said Danielle Reynard, who recently purchased a home built by Ryan Homes in Whites Creek. "My house, I believe, is a defective build."

Lindsay Paris-Madrid lives in the same division, which is called Parmley Cove.

"When you look at this garage, what do you think of?" Paris-Madrid asked New 4 reporter Alanna Autler. "[It's] a hot mess."

On a tour of her new home, the mother of three showed the I-team everything from squeaky floors to unstable shutters.

Waiting for repairs is another story.

Reynard said she's waited up to two weeks for issues to get fixed. For Paris-Madrid, make that three months.

Both women want to know why their brand new homes are subject to so many issues.

Reynard even filed a complaint with the Tenn. Department of Commerce and Insurance. However, the Licensing Board for Contractors closed the complaint without taking any action.

She questions: Who is Ryan Homes hiring to build these faulty houses?

The company relies on subcontractors, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

NVR, Inc., the parent company of Ryan Homes, is a publicly-traded company.

On the topic of outsourcing the building process, NVR writes, "We may discover our subcontractors have engaged in improper construction practices….the cost of satisfying our legal obligations could be significant."

Over the past two years, the company has set aside more than $180,000 to fix construction and product defects, according to another financial document.

"They do quick fixes and hope that people won't notice," Paris-Madrid said.

However, some people are noticing -- and lodging complaints.

The I-Team found that homeowners have filed at least 24 lawsuits against Ryan Homes in federal court since 2005.

Those lawsuits, which span seven states, include accusations of "fraud and misrepresentation," "negligence," and "defects in [the] home."

In 17 of those cases, the parties agreed to dismiss the case or settle for an unknown amount.

"I believe they're doing that just to keep everything quiet," Reynard said.

The I-Team asked the former president of the Tennessee Home Inspector Association to check out some of the issues.

Ed McDaniel also works part-time doing building maintenance at News 4.

In Reynard's house, McDaniel found several problems including dry-nail pops and cracks in the ceiling.

He spotted other issues, including a faulty outlet, at the Paris-Madrid home.

"This electrical conduit's loose. I personally would have written this up as a safety issue," McDaniel said.

Overall, McDaniel said human error, not poor design, could be to blame. He also recommended every homeowner should hire an inspector even if the house is new.

"There are some issues that need to be addressed," he said.

The I-Team contacted NVR's corporate office with numerous questions about these homes.

In return, a spokesman responded with two words: no comment.

But since the homes were built in Middle Tennessee, the I-Team went to the Ryan Homes office in Brentwood.

"You would have to contact our corporate office," a representative for Ryan Homes said.

"They told us a blanket 'no comment,'" reporter Alanna Autler explained to the representative. "It's a little frustrating for the homeowners, don't you think?"

"That's to the media, that's not [our response] to our homeowners," the representative replied. "So media, that is absolutely the answer, but our homeowners have an 800-number they can contact us. We will absolutely review warrantable items."

Back in Whites Creek, Paris-Madrid and Reynard said they are still waiting to hear about repairs. They just don't know how long that might be.

"They sell you a dream, and then they don't build that exact dream," Paris-Madrid said.

Reynard said NVR offered her a settlement, but she turned it down.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance has received eight complaints about NVR. Those allegations range from warranty to drainage issues.

The State closed all but one complaint, which is still pending.

To file a complaint with the Department of Commerce and Insurance, click here.

Customers who want to report issues on NVR/Ryan Homes can call 877-550-7926.

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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