Lockport homeowners growing impatient with slow repairs

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – Their homes were falling apart so they dialed Call 4 Action–state officials stepped in, and repairs were promised. Now, two years after that Call 4 Action report homeowners in The Woodlands–a manufactured home development in Lockport–say those promises are not being kept.

Last December New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his office had reached an agreement with the owner of The Woodlands, on behalf of 9 homeowners, to get those homes fixed.

Homeowner Cindy Duggan said the defects have devalued her home, and the others. So they now owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, “This is terrible. It just rips my gut every time I’ve got to write that mortgage check.”

Four of the 9 homeowners who were part of the agreement with Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. of Chicago to fix their manufactured homes told News 4 they bought their homes new, a few years ago, and it didn’t take long for cracks to start showing up in the walls, floors, and ceilings.

Pearl Jones has had some work done to her house, but said the large crack in her ceiling, and new cracks showing up all the time, are leaving her house in worse shape than it was before the repairs started.

“I really do believe it is just a high price band aid right now,” said Jones. As the repairs cause her home to shift, “The moulding are popping out completely, so I am not happy at all with it.”

The Attorney General investigated the homeowners’ claims and found their homes were not assembled as prescribed, on site at The Woodlands, leading to a number of defects.

But some homeowners, including Duggan felt the agreement reached in December let the owner of the subdivision off, the manufacturer, and other companies involved, with little enforceability, so Cindy hired her own attorney.

“Six times we have repaired my house, and it has all come back–it just comes back with a vengeance. The houses were just never put together.”

Connie Steck did sign the agreement, but so far, she says she has heard nothing about the repairs.

“I’ve heard nothing and I am totally disgusted. Disgusted with what? My house, my house. I am between a rock and a hard place–what do I do?”

It is important to note, Equity Lifestyle Properties was not The Woodlands’ owner at the time those homes were built, but corporate officials did agree to spend up to $20,000 each to fix the 9 homes.

Late Thursday afternoon, a spokesperson for Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. confirmed one house is being repaired now–which would be Pearl Jones home–and in an email laid out their plans for the other homes.

“Work on two additional homes has been scheduled to begin later this month. We are prepared to schedule work for the remaining homes as soon as the homeowners indicate to us they are ready to proceed.”

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