Residents cope with construction in moldy condos - FOX 13 News

Residents cope with construction in moldy condos

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LAKEWOOD RANCH (FOX 13) -

The hammering and sawing start at 8 a.m. every day, and it all ends around 5 with a break when construction workers take their lunch break.

"It's horrific, there's no quality of life, " says an exasperated Meagan Burke.

She's been living in a construction zone since October. Her home is in the Willowbrook condos in Manatee County.

For years, neighbors complained to the builder, KB Home, of water intrusion, mold and mildew.

Originally, KB Home said the problem was only on back balconies and they agreed to rip those off and rebuild them.

But now, the extent of the damage is far worse. The entire stucco on the buildings is being ripped off.

Black areas on plywood where mold is growing are being cut out.

So far, just three buildings are being worked on, but eventually, all 51 buildings will be ripped apart.

And it's all while the neighbors still live here.

"I don't know what made them think they could come in and essentially demolish these homes and build them again from the ground up with people still living and working in here," Burke said.

KB has offered to relocate some neighbors who have more work that needs to be done. Robert Misiak moved out because his kitchen is ripped apart too.

"They should have put us up from the beginning. In all fairness, I don't think they knew it was going to be this big of a project. But as soon as they knew it was going to be this extensive, they should have moved us all out," Misiak said.

Burke has been offered to move out too. But she says it's not what you think.

"Did they offer to relocate me? Yes. Did they omit key details as to where they offered to move us? Absolutely," she said.

She says it's in a hotel in a less than desirable location.

"I did some checking on my own and found there were 23 crimes there within a two-mile radius in a six-day time period, " Burke said.

The big question for these neighbors is how long will all this take. There is no timeline for which building is next. The condo's board is deciding where the construction begins next.

But many residents don't even want the work done -- they just want their money back. They don't trust that KB Home will make it right this time.

"As far as KB building something back, you failed once, what makes me think you're going to be able to do it and do it right?" said Armando Oyola-Delgado.

He wants to move on.

"It didn't work. You built a bad product. You know you built a bad product, Give me my money back, let me move on with my life," he said.

We tried to talk to the KB Home representative onsite, but he directed us to their media relations person, who later said the company is warranting the work that the Willowbrook Condo Association's contractor is performing.

KB Home says it is all included in the agreement they made last year with the Willowbrook Association, including relocation information and testing for mold with every homeowner.

The representative disputes the claims that the relocation accommodations are not in a safe area. They say the hotel offers a kitchen/bedroom/living area and also accommodates pets, which was a concern to some homeowners. The representative says the hotel has a great reputation and claims many Willowbrook residents have temporarily moved there already and are pleased with it.

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