HESPERIA — Three homeowners in the new Sorrento Homes tract recently posted yard signs warning "Buyers Beware!" claiming they've experienced "a plague of house problems" since moving in.
The homeowners, who live in the tract located south of Main Street in Hesperia, told the Daily Press some of their issues include outdoor flooding, water leaks, electrical issues, mold and resistance from the builder to take care of the problems.
But several other homeowners defended the work done by Sorrento Homes, calling the posted signs "uncalled for."
Megan Ferrara said her problems began about two years ago, just after escrow closed on her two-story home near the corner of Arae and Palm streets, west of Maple Avenue.
"I think I filed seven repair forms from the summer of 2015 to this year and they're just now being taken care of," Ferrara said. "Our fireplace gas line was finally connected last Thursday, but they fixed that right after I put my yard sign up."
Ferrara said other issues with her home involved electrical issues, a code violation for not having outlets installed on a kitchen island, an uneven fireplace, backyard flooding, a cracked retaining wall, torn drywall, cracked stucco, sewer line issues, sinkholes and floor joist cracks.
"A crew of 15 worked at my house the other day from 8 a.m. to nearly 6 p.m.," Ferrara said. "I asked for a list of contractors just in case I had issues with the repairs."
As of Thursday, Ferrara and her next door neighbor, Catarina, who both live in model homes, had taken down their signs, but Christina Rodriguez's sign was still posted.
Standing in his doorway, Louis Toro told the Daily Press he "loves" his new home, saying his only issue was a few cabinet drawers "that pulled out and down."
"These houses are built well and I've enjoyed living here since I moved in about a year ago," said Toro, 73. said. "The owners are always available and the sales office is just across the street if anybody needs help."
Toro was one of several homeowners who gave Sorrento Homes high marks for construction and their quick response to construction or repair issues.
Catarina, who did not offer her last name, said she took her sign down because "Sorrento was finally fixing my problems," which included water leaking from her second-story bathroom into her kitchen, cracks in her stucco, no electrical outlets on her kitchen island and sink holes.
"When I first moved in about a year ago, water was pouring through my recessed lighting in the kitchen," Catarina said. "They told me someone did not tighten the pipe in the bathtub."
Catarina said the company fixed the leak the following day and she expects them out on Saturday to inspect for mold and to take care of any other issues.
Sorrento President Mike Howarth and Vice President Alan Colantuono invited the Daily Press to their office on Thursday to answer questions and to visit with residents.
"We have a good relationship with our homeowners, the City of Hesperia and our contractors," Howarth said. "We stand behind our work and we try to respond as quickly as possible to repair requests."
Howarth continued, saying he respects the "freedom and rights" of the homeowners to put up signs and that some of their "issues were legit" and were addressed quickly.
Rodriguez showed the Daily Press several photos of mold that formed inside her new home as a result of a leaky air conditioning condensation pipe.
"The leak happened about a week after we moved in and it took them almost two weeks before they started to fix it," said Rodriquez, 34, whose family moved into the home last year. "They wanted to fix the warped drawer and loose tile, but I kept insisting they pull everything up because I suspected mold. I was right."
Rodriguez, who lives a few doors down from the Sorrento Homes sales office, said her property also experienced drainage issues, a sewer cap that continually popped off and appliances that were not installed on time.
"When they pulled out the drywall, they never covered the rest of the house so there was dust everywhere," said Rodriguez, as a construction crew worked to erect more houses on the west end of the 40-home tract. "These homes were supposed to be turnkey ready, but it's been more about remodeling a new house."
Howarth said his team responded to Rodriguez's repair request quickly, explaining how the leaking condensation pipe was a result of a drywaller not cutting an exit hole for the pipe.
"We gutted and reassembled the kitchen and master bathroom," Colantuono said. "We wanted to make sure there wouldn't be a chance for mold to resurface."
Colantuono said Rodriguez's sewer issue was a result of sand entering the sewer pipe after a utility company accidentally clipped the sewer line during construction.
"As for flooding, the recent rainstorm really did a number on some of the properties that reconfigured the grade," said Colantuono, as he held a stack of contractor licenses from the State License Board in his hand. "One homeowner covered the drain pipe when they installed sod."
City of Hesperia Building and Safety Manager Mike Hearn said each new home constructed goes through a series of inspections before the home is ready to be occupied.
"During the inspection process, missing outlets on kitchen islands and the issue experienced with the air conditioning condensation pipe should have been addressed," Hearn said. "Most of the items homeowners are concerned about, like cracked retaining walls and cracked stucco, occurred well after the home final inspection was complete."
One homeowner, who identified herself as Gloria, told the Daily Press she "brought on several flooding issues" when she installed rock and sod in her side yard.
"We did the work ourselves and when it rained the water started pooling up against the house," said Gloria, as she retrieved her mail. "Other than the yard problem, we've never had any issues with the house."
Gloria said she understands the frustration of "any homeowner" who has problems, but called the posting of the signs "uncalled for."
Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227, RDeLa Cruz@VVDailyPress.com or on Twitter@DP_ReneDeLaCruz.