GET GEPHARDT

After new homes flood, residents question if builder or Mother Nature is to blame

Jan 31, 2023, 11:21 PM

LEHI, Utah — New Year’s Day proved not to be a great start to the year for Kayla Holman.

“We woke up to water coming in through two windows,” Holman said. “The water built up in the window well so high that the windows just weren’t holding the water back.”

Holman felt the issue was a construction flaw that allowed water to pour through cracks in her window wells and into her basement.

The damage cost her $1,700 to clean up, and she expects to spend another $2,000 to repair the damage.

Holman moved into the house more than a year ago after building it with Ivory Homes.

“We have submitted warranty claims through Ivory’s website, and we have not heard back from their warranty department to this point,” Holman said.

A few doors down, Ben Cannon still had the sandbags in place after suffering the exact same issue: water coming through the basement windows destroyed the basement he had finished just six weeks prior.

“We just barely finished it,” Cannon lamented, “so I’m absolutely devastated. At the end of the day, I’ve just spent all the money I had and savings to get to this point. I don’t have money to fix all this.”

Cannon, Holman, and several others in the Holbrook Farms community said they reached out to Ivory Homes, expecting some help with repairing the damages and potential defects to their brand-new homes.

They say they were told it wasn’t a building issue, or a neighborhood drainage issue, but a landscaping issue.

The homeowners disagree.

“The source of the leaking, which is these windows, is under a giant concrete pad that the builder put in for me,” said Cannon, who showed the ground under the pad had also settled.

“The fact that five out of six homes on our street flooded, I don’t think that’s a landscaper problem,” Holman said.

When the KSL Investigators reached out to Ivory Homes, we were told the same thing as the homeowners. In an email statement, their spokesperson wrote, “in most cases, flooding and standing water is frequently caused by landscaping after closing that changes the pre-set drainage of a home and lot. We are encouraging homeowners who had post-closing landscaping, to also reach out to their landscaping contractor directly.”

The spokesperson added the company is “committed to upholding the standards outlined in the Ivory Homes Limited Warranty.”

Ivory Homes told us “…this will be our only comment on the story.”

KSL Investigators took a deeper look at the limited warranty and found it indeed limiting when it comes to flooding.

For example, Ivory Homes lists they are responsible for the home’s grading, making sure water flows away from the house.

The Holbrook Farms HOA, which is still under leadership of Ivory Homes, requires landscaping to be installed within a year after closing. If Ivory decides that landscaping changed the surface water runoff patterns, the homeowner is not covered.

“It’s Ivory’s get-out-of-jail-free card,” Holman said. “They can do whatever they want. Even if it says it’s covered in the warranty, it’s up to their discretion.”

Around these homes, there are areas where the earth next to the home seemed to be compacting, changing the grade.

Ivory’s warranty says the “homeowner is responsible for monitoring settlement,” and that “ground settlement of up to 12 inches is common.”

Kyle Rollins, a professor of engineering at Brigham Young University, disagreed.

“Engineers typically design for settlement of maybe an inch,” Rollins explained.

Much more settlement than that, said Rollins, can be a recipe for disaster – one that will take more than individual homeowners fixing their own properties.

“Drainage systems can be remarkably effective, but if the whole area is having problems, then just dealing with your particular lot is not likely to solve the problem,” he said. “It probably needs to be a coordinated effort among the city developers and landowners to take care of the problem.”

As for Holman and Cannon, they await final word from Ivory on whether the builder will help fix the issues causing the water to get inside their homes. They’re not hopeful, as both homes fall outside of the one-year limited warranty period. “I’m trusting that sign that says they’re the number one builder,” he said. “I’m trusting them to do a good job, and that trust is now completely violated.”

Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

KSL 5 TV Live

Get Gephardt

Matt Gephardt being shown the double payments that Terry Hutchings has been getting....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Get Gephardt helps homeowner being charged two bills for one security system

Billing for a previous home initially stopped when she sold it, but when she got a new security system from the same provider for her new place a year later it started billing for both.

1 day ago

Neilson-Berg explaining the hassles and trouble she has been going through to get into contact with...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Google Fiber customer get her internet fixed after customer service calls go nowhere

When a Salt Lake City woman's internet connection went down, and she couldn't get a straight answer as to when it would be back up, she decided to Get Gephardt.

2 days ago

Matt Gephardt with Hung Tran who is explaining why he has been trying to get his social security be...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps retiree deadlocked with Social Security over lost birth certificate

The United States has been home for Hung Tran nearly 50 years. He came here as a refugee fleeing war-torn Vietnam in 1975.

3 days ago

FILE: Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shoppi...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Utah family says their bank refuses to reimburse fraudulent charges

A Taylorsville family says a hacker drained thousands of dollars out of their bank accounts and left them overdrawn by tens of thousands more. They thought federal banking rules protected them, but they say their bank has refused to reimburse them for those losses.

4 days ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

8 days ago

Matt Gephardt, journalists, looks as paper with a woman...

Matt Gephardt and Cimaron Neugebauer

Get Gephardt: Ticketmaster seizes back purchased seats

Imagine buying tickets to a show, then having the seller refuse to give them to you. That’s what happened to a Utah woman, when she got a refund she didn’t ask for.

9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

After new homes flood, residents question if builder or Mother Nature is to blame