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Canadian Sues, While US Disco Diva Says “I Will Survive” in Court

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Green Brook, NJGiven the cost and complexity of construction, it’s little wonder that home warranty insurance is such a valued level of protection for the homeowner. Sadly, that protection is often more perception, given the realities homeowners encounter when the unforeseen occurs.

Case in point is a new home built in central Canada, in the Province of Manitoba. According to CBC Manitoba (4/15/13), the homeowners thought that a new home would be the preferred option over an existing building, as everything would be new. And with home warranty insurance, what could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out. Four years after moving into their new home in Lorette, Manitoba, the Hopkins family discovered quite by accident that an exterior wall sitting behind some furniture adjacent to windows was so saturated with water that the sheathing was “like mush,” Bill Hopkins told a reporter from CBC Manitoba. “I could put my hand right through it.”

Originally, they suspected the windows had not been properly caulked. But a home inspector hired by Hopkins noted that water-resistant sheathing paper did not extend all the way to the top of the structure, allowing rainwater to infiltrate the wall from the top, and run down the wall. The inspector also surmised the water infiltration was happening from the time the home was built.

When Hopkins contacted the builder with regard to home warranty insurance, he was told the builder only covered defective materials or workmanship for the first year, and the active coverage window had expired.

This is also when Hopkins learned about the limitations often observed by home warranty companies. After he contacted the National Home Warranty Program about the problem, Hopkins was told his home was still covered under a five-year structural defect extended warranty, only to learn his claim would be denied because in its view the problems did not meet the warranty program’s criteria of a structural defect. His file was marked insurance claim denied.

The National Home Warranty Program (NHWP) provides new home warranty protection across Canada, although coverage lengths and limits vary by province. As for a potential structural defect, Hopkins shared with the CBC that he was told by an official with NHWP that his house would have to “shift off its foundation” for structural coverage to be extended, and the likelihood of that happening was nil.

According to Hopkins, various strains of mold generated by the water living in the wall for four years affected the air quality of the home and potentially affected the family’s health. One of Hopkins’ children suffers from asthma. He spent $32,000 of his own money affecting repairs after the builder and home warranty insurance left him hanging, with family members performing the work. The value of the labor was estimated at about $18,000 for a total of $50,000, which Hopkins is seeking to recover through a Home Warranty Lawsuit against his builder.

He also cites bad faith insurance and feels that the new home warranty program in Manitoba needs to be beefed up.

Meanwhile, disco diva Gloria Gaynor is hoping her lawsuit against a contractor will survive in court. According to the Courier News of Bridgewater, New Jersey (10/16/13), the ’70s pop sensation found water seeping into her home after a contractor replaced a second-floor concrete deck on her house. The singer noticed, upon its completion, that water tended to pool on the concrete and water was seeping into her home, presumably from the newly installed deck.

When attempts to have the deck repaired failed, Gaynor brought in another contractor to inspect the installation and was told the pooling of water and leaks was due to faulty construction, and that it would cost $120,000 to have the deck replaced properly. The problematic installation was installed for about one-third of that cost, or $38,060.

Gaynor has launched a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and breach of warranty. The singer also alleges in her lawsuit that the Defendant committed consumer fraud by not being properly registered in the state of New Jersey, and failure to obtain the required permits that would have facilitated proper inspection of the work after the fact.

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