Residents frustrated with senator's help

Video Courtesy of Channel 8 News, Tampa

Reporting By Shannon Behnken

Published August 17, 2012

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Lakewood Ranch homeowners who have collapsing balconies and mold growing in their homes are saying the builder is not listening to their complaints. On top of that the fire department is now concerned about these crumbling condos. Reporter Shannon Behnken showed State Senator Mike Bennett the conditions these people are dealing with.

Homeowners who blame rotting balconies mold and leaks on shoddy construction finally had the interest of a state senator. Residents hoped to get help but their quest to get builder KB homes to buy back their condos failed so far. Many residents left the Wednesday meeting frustrated  saying that Senator Mike Bennett didn't fully understand the nightmare their homes have turned into..

It turns out Bennett never actually went inside the homes. Behnken caught up with him and showed him what we showed you in our last story.


After seeing the pictures Bennett said: " I think everything they said it is probably correct. I know that if I lived out here I would be probably the strongest community organizer."

Bennett says he'll stay in contact with KB home to make sure they repair the homes.

As this story unfolds more questions are emerging today. Fire rescue from Manatee County was here and they are seriously concerned about these crumbling balconies.

For the moment the fire department will wait for results from the county building inspector. In the past week fifteen homes have been deemed un safe. Inspections continue and neighborhood leaders estimate at least sixty homes with major problems.

KB Homes says it stands behind its product and will fix the homes. Workers were in the neighborhoods and evaluated houses.



Homeowner Delgado's rotting balcony was removed a year ago. He says that workers just stacked these pavers in his bedroom and left. Now he and many others want  KB to buy back their houses so they can move on.

"We've been patient. You know this is going on for six years -- seven years in the making. How much patience do you want? We continue to do the same thing. It's insanity -- it's crazy."

KB said today that they have started making repairs. The homeowners are saying that they don't want their houses fixed -- they want KB Homes to buy them back. Behnken did ask KB Homes about that possibility and they said no -- they are not willing to buy any of these houses back because they are going to make all the necessary repairs. It's not totally unheard of for builders to buy back houses. Believe it or not, it has happened in other communities. And that's what gives these homeowners some hope that that might happen to them.