Monday, January 5, 2009

Florida Homeowners Sue Habitat for Humanity

A tip o' the hat to my good friend Mark for sending this link my way. Homeowners in a Florida neighborhood are suing Habitat for Humanity for building them a house they say is substandard and contains mold and other harmful substances. They are also upset because the development was built upon an old rubbish heap.

After I read the article my take away is that some people probably haven't maintained their homes properly and therefore, it is deteriorating. So instead of paying for proper maintenance they would rather sue and try and get more free stuff.

When will America learn? People are ungrateful and don't deserve free stuff because they don't know how to take care of what they're given. Sound familiar, Extreme Home Makeover?


  1. I am not familiar with the circumstances of this case, and no one deserves a moldy home, but I am personally familiar with the Habitat affiliates here locally and so much time and so much supervision goes into the home built here that it is my experience these homes are better built than your standard starter home from a for-profit builder. Habitat's reputation is outstanding and no one should judge them solely by this lawsuit.

    1. You are so wrong. I built with Habitat for Humanity and it has been nothing but a nightmare. Plumbing not installed properly. I had to pay for a second opinion. I then paid $350.00 for a home inspection report. That's when they really got hit with all theie hidden problems. I even received a letter from them how sorry they were. The plumbing was redone, but we are six months away of their 2 year warranty. They still have to replace kitchen floor, entry way floor, back deck, door that don't lock or even close. I could go on and on. They built on my land that was 79,000.00 free and clear. It was suppose to be portioned off. Yea sure I'm ungrateful. NOT! I PAID $118,000.00 for a house that I could not even live in for 8 months. Yet I never missed a mortgage payment. Who's u grateful...HABITAT THAT'S WHO#

  2. Really strange case... I haven't heard much about this society, I don't think we have something like this here in Canada. I believe the constructions were checked by local authorities, so there can't be a BIG problem. And when you have free house...ok, but if you have to chance to gain some money, why not to sue...? (ehm)
    Take care

  3. Actually, you're speculating a whole lot there, aren't you? Assuming that the problem is that the homeowners didn't take care of their homes? You have no proof of that at all.

    One of the major problems with Habitat is that they invite laypeople to become architects, engineers, and construction workers. You wouldn't have volunteers build you a car to drive, so it doesn't make much sense to have volunteers build you a home to live in. I have worked with Habitat and have a background in architecture, and unlike your previous commenter, have found that the organization's building standards -- and the results of them -- are far, far below that of a professionally built home.

    People expect to be sold a home that will be durable, safe, and healthy... and they hope that it will appreciate in value. But if it falls apart and is built in such a way that makes the occupant sick (yes, buildings can very easily make people sick), then they've been sold a product that is not worth what they paid for it.

    And yes, recipient families do pay for the houses. They pay a discounted, 0-interest mortgage. But they do pay.

  4. @Julia - You obviously know much more about the inner-workings of Habitat than me. I admit that I am assuming some of the homeowners who are suing probably have not properly maintained their homes. And I think I'm right about this. Please prove me wrong and I'll accept it.

    You say people "pay" for a Habitat home. If they can afford to "pay" for a Habitat home then why wouldn't they just get a regular home loan? Oh...because they can't get a regular loan and Habitat is their only option for homeownership unless they want to rent Section 8 housing.

    Then to turn around and bash the organization that provided you that home is called being ungrateful.

    Again, show me how these people properly maintained their homes and the home still deteriorated, etc.

  5. I am familiar with habitat as well and I agree with you Jeff. The homes are built well and if they contain mold and things its from poor care.
    Habitat hires contractors to work on the houses who oversee and train their volunteers on how to help construct the house. This is the same way it works on regular construction of houses. Not everyone is a professional or has experience when they start working on houses. And if something on the house is discovered to be inadequate then habitat fixes it for free! I personally helped habitat work on a roof that was leaking and they got a whole new roof done for free. Habitat insures the houses that they build for no extra cost.

  6. I AM A HABITAT HOMEONER. In Arizona. If I knew even a LITTLE about how BAD the politics, building practices, construction (lack of) quality and tricks and threats from neighbors and the "board members". I would have stayed in my 2 br apartment in the bad part of town and figured out another way at another time.
    And don't go inspections with me. They are on the buddie system. I was digging up my sewer and water line 6 weeks after I moved in. I WAS NOT CONNECTED. I WAS signed off on All INSPECTIONS. My electrical box was hard wired on the OPPOSITE GROUND side. I had problems for 12 years. There are STILL problems. There are more that wrong with this house.Uneven wall, doors never shut correctly,mice in the vents,rats in the attic. Don't talk before you play both sides! AND I HAVE PUT 1000's into mortgage payments and "maintaenance" landscaping,flooring etc. I cant even live in it it is so unsafe.The wiring will blow it up someday. $10,000 left.

  7. Patti - Unfortunately for you, you just proved my point. The bottom line is you got what you paid for. You paid for nothing yet you're complaining about the quality of work. There may very well be a "buddy system" where inspectors get paid to say the house is in good condition. But I have to ask:

    1. Did you call Habitat and ask them to fix these issues?

  8. I am a contractor and decided to help a Habitat affiliate while I was out of work due to a sports injury.

    I am resigning after only being with them for a couple months. The entire mission of the organization is not to resolve homelessness or poverty as they claim, but to provide a fuzzy-warm, quazi-religious experience for volunteers and to raise money for the larger umbrella organization.

    Successful affiliates handle as millions of dollars in cash due to house sales, which are built by volunteer labor and donated materials but sold to the homeowner at "market value" even though they most often are not even close to meeting the basic requirements of quality and proper construction, nor are their square footage sizes comparable to typical homes built for market.

    Worse, is that homeowners are sold locked into a mortgage that they cannot transfer, sell or get out of for twenty years.

    In addition, Habitat continues their relationship with the homeowners, demanding that they submit to examinations for proper maintenance inside and out and also in some cases attempting to reassume the mortgage when the owner is "non-compliant" with some trivial control they have in place.

    Therefore, although the "homeowner" is told that they have moved themselves up the ladder and done what we're all told is right by purchasing equity that will increase in value, their "purchase" is more like a twenty year lease agreement wherein the owner pays into nothing for twenty years, which can be withdrawn from them at anytime.

    Habitat's problems with poor quality construction, poor planning, improper management of funds or families and general incompetence and lack of professionalism is rampant. Most of the affiliates are run by all volunteers with either no staff or only one or two paid staff members.

    Nepotism and favoritism runs high and oversight from the international is low.

    They have made almost no impact on actual rates of poverty and homelessness due to their very low output of housing and many argue that their requirements for good credit and homeownership have questionable impact on homelessness as well.

    In addition, since providing for equity is one of the biggest reasons that home ownership is touted as the route to the middle class, by not allowing the homeowner to withdraw that equity for such a long period of time, the homeowner is actually kept stagnant in the same level of poverty they were in before, but now they have saddled with the responsibility of homeownership.

    In some areas of the country, increases in home values did not allow the homeowners to enjoy the resulting increase in equity and many found that although their houses increased in value, their payments jumped with tax increases and they were unable to afford the house payments and also unable to sell the house in order move to another area.

    The get-out clause offered to homeowners is to sell the house back to Habitat, which only places the people right back where they were in the beginning.

    Which is why I basically call it 20 year lease agreement and a very, very profitable enterprise for Habitat.

  9. Yeah, I am a homeowner too.. all I can say to the people that say it is FREE to the families, yo have no idea how much hard work and money people have put into their Habitat homes! it is not free, in fact the cost for us has been more stress than you could understand, and the people that run it have seen how bad our walls and eletrical is, I have a list that is sick how long it is with the problems.. As long as their linning their pockets from all the free donations adn the families pay them they dont care!!!! I know there are some amazing habitat groups in around, just didnt happenen to be our CASE!! and Yes we have to pay for this DUMP 160,000 and we could never see it if we tried!!!!
    Skip Built Home!!