Imagine buying a brand new home, and not being able to pull in to the driveway.
That's the reality for Brian Kozar, a first-time homeowner in West Columbia. Kozar says he loves his charming new house, but says the driveway is so steep, his Nissan Altima won't clear the curb without bottoming out.
"I can't use the garage, and can't use the driveway," Kozar said.
To make matters worse, he didn't realize the problem until after he closed on the home. He says he parked in the street each time he visited the house prior to purchase.
Right now, it appears, the street is the only place he can park with his low profile vehicle.
"What do I do? I have this beautiful home I love and I'm excited about. I love the neighborhood. But (the driveway) is not only dangerous or damaging to my car but a potential liability if someone used my driveway," Kozar said.
Kozar called the home builder, Hurricane Builders right after he moved in. Kozar says a representative for the builder came out and assured him the driveway would be fixed without a problem.
But Kozar says five weeks later, his calls aren't being returned, and there are no solutions in sight. He reached out to us, and we took Kozar's concerns to the attorney for Hurricane Builders, Jake Moore.
"[Kozar] didn't do his due diligence in regard to his needs on the house before he elected to buy a cheaper home," Moore explained.
Moore says the house Kozar bought was discounted, because of the steep driveway. When asked if Kozar knew about that "steep driveway discount," Moore admitted he did not but said Kozar could easily see the driveway was steep before he moved in.
Since the driveway hasn't changed at all and meets all applicable codes, Moore says Kozar is legally out of luck.
"He and his realtor had every ability to drive up and down the driveway to drive into the garage," Moore said.
When we pressed the issue further, asking if that legal explanation amounts to good customer service, Moore conceded Hurricane Builders will fix the driveway at their expense, provided they and Kozar can agree on what needs to be done, within reason.
All Kozar can hope for now is a driveway he can use, as he learns a valuable first lesson in due diligence.
"I'm looking for Hurricane Builders to make this right to not only fix it but to pay for it and be proactive in resolving it instead of avoiding it," said Kozar.
"Even though the house meets all applicable building codes. Even though nothing was concealed," Moore counters by saying, "even though the purchaser got a discount on the property for the steepness of the lot, my client [Hurricane Builders] will attempt to go back and do something to rectify this problem."
Moore says the builder is waiting to see the repair Kozar wants in writing before they agree to do the work.
Moore called the repair at the company's expense "a gift". We will keep an eye on the situation. In the meantime, if you have a consumer issue, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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