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Lawsuits: Mold, ventilation problems and structural issues at new townhomes in Mount Pleasant

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 7:00 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 8:39 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - What should have been a new chapter in their lives has turned into a nightmare for some Mount Pleasant homeowners. Mold, ventilation problems and structural issues are just some of the complaints listed in lawsuits filed against the builder and HVAC contractor.

The Midtown Townhomes by Lennar are one of the newer builds in Mount Pleasant. It’s located off of Hungry Neck Boulevard and they’re listed as luxury townhomes. From the outside, many would think it’s true but neighbors say things have gone wrong.

“I started looking around, I mean opening closets, and I was just like ‘Oh my God,’” Kim Conway, who bought her townhome in 2020, says.

Conway says she was gone last summer for about six weeks. But when she came back, there was mold on every floor.

“My furniture, my bed, my mattress… everything was damp when I came home,” Conway says. “Like my sheets were wet. Everything was wet. And I lived in here for four days like this. And my furniture, these chairs… they had to come in and clean every piece of furniture. Everything. There was nothing left in this house.”

Conway says she had to move into a hotel while Lennar cleaned it up. According to documents from her attorney, it cost about $14,000.

She’s not the only one dealing with issues.

“I need to have the air conditioner work properly so that there’s not too much humidity in the house and it won’t blow constantly,” Karen Tinsley, who bought her townhome in 2021, says. “I think the unit is not the correct type of unit. I have a sink in the kitchen that’s cracked from the factory. I have a water heater that I’ve replaced because the plumber said that it was too small for my unit.”

Tinsley says she’s had problems since day one.

“My oven didn’t work properly. I have a gas stove and it was flickering so they had to go in the attic and make a bigger line for that. And I’ve had cracking of brick on the outside. There’s all kinds of wall problems upstairs. I have a bowed out floorboard and someone came in and said, ‘well we’re going to have to take out the wall because the plate and the wall isn’t attached to the sheetrock.’ So that means they’re going to have to come in and tear out the wall and fix that.

Tinsley says of the laundry list of items she has sent to Lennar to fix only about 25 percent has been done. And she’s wary if they’re actually done correctly. She says the most concerning thing to her, though, is the cracking bricks.

“I have these dreams where that my entire house is falling down from the outside and everything inside is all going to just fall down,” Tinsley says. “It’s like how scary is that? That’s what I’m stressed out about.”

All in all – neighbors just want their new homes fixed and for Lennar and the other companies to own up to the problems. That’s why they filed the lawsuits.

As of Thursday, the lawsuit against the HVAC company, Fogel Services, is pending in Charleston County. A federal court dismissed the lawsuit against Lennar for procedural reasons, but a motion for reconsideration of that dismissal is currently pending. Neither company has responded for a request for comment as of Thursday.

“I think Lennar should accept what they’ve done and they know they’ve messed up these buildings,” Conway adds. “They should fix them. They should be responsible and just fix them. And learn how to build.”

They’re also offering some advice to home buyers.

“I would say don’t rush into buying anything get an inspector,” Tinsley says. “Maybe get two inspectors. Get some advice from other people to go in and look at the history of the place. Don’t rush into a brand new construction because they’re taking shortcuts these days to sell.”

This isn’t the first lawsuit against Lennar. There are more than a dozen listed in Charleston County alone listed on the court’s website dating back more than a decade alleging similar problems.

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