Homeowners say their new D.R. Horton houses are practically falling apart months after moving in (2024)

By Emily Johnson and Jordan Gartner

Published: May. 10, 2024 at 4:20 PM CDT

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - Homeowners in South Carolina say their new homes built by D.R. Horton are practically falling apart.

In April of 2022, Dave Preston and his wife moved into their D.R. Horton home, but they said everything was horrific with toilets backing up, outlets not working, and parts of the home unfinished.

“They [D.H. Horton] were trying to do too much, too fast. The quality was horrendous,” Preston said.

D.R. Horton has been building new housing developments throughout the Lowcountry. But as demand for more subdivisions grows, homeowners say they are finding more problems with their homes.

Preston said their problems with the home didn’t stop at the toilets. He said the home’s septic system also backed up and needed a full overhaul within months of moving in.

“They [D.H. Horton] played the blame game, saying people were taking too many showers; the septic system couldn’t handle the load,” Preston said.

He added, “It’s supposed to be a beautiful development with houses that are fairly expensive, and things should work.”

Preston said issues continued to surface in the home, and he contacted a Lowcountry inspector, Robert Knowles, in March of 2023.

“We can laugh a little bit now, but it was horrific,” Preston said. “My wife was in tears most of the time when we were going through this.”

A 166-page inspection report from Knowles noted problems in virtually every part of the home. Missing pipes, doors installed incorrectly, insulation too thin, the structural integrity of the roof compromised, and multiple code violations were all noted within the inspection.

Despite the dozens of problems found by Knowles, a Berkeley County inspector approved the home in March of 2022, just one month before Preston moved in.

“I was flabbergasted, a little bit, on the construction part of it, the quality of work,” Preston said.

In response to Knowles’ report in comparison to the county’s, Berkeley County Building Official Hank Jackson said inspectors look at the home at a certain date and once it has the final approval, it’s out of their hands.

“A lot of times on these home inspection reports, these are done one or two years after we actually did our final inspection. We run into a lot of cases where a lot of things have changed,” Jackson said.

A Freedom of Information Act request revealed a Berkeley County email from 2023 that the deputy county supervisor had addressed issues with D.R. Horton that had come to light through building codes and the community at large.

The supervisor suggested the county take a comprehensive look at D.R. Horton’s performance and discuss what tools to address the concerns. Yet a year later, new D.R. Horton builds are still popping up throughout the county.

“We constantly address things that are going on, but we can’t make them [D.R. Horton] do anything,” Jackson said. “If D.R. Horton or any other builder wants to stop and not do something, that falls to a state regulation.”

But Preston isn’t the only one who says they are going through this nightmare, and it’s not just in Berkeley County.

In 2021, Scott Molway and his family moved into a Summerville neighborhood with their home being built in 2019. Two months after moving in, the roof buckled.

“When they were actually putting in the shingles, they weren’t using the correct number of nails or materials,” Molway said.

The roof buckled again in February of 2023, and again in January of 2024.

The Molways lost 70 shingles, damaging the inside of their office. The entire ceiling ended up needing to be replaced.

The most recent roofing problem came with a $17,500 price tag.

“They don’t build these homes in months or years anymore; they build them in weeks. It’s crazy how quickly they pop up, and as soon as they pop up, the builders are gone,” Molway said. “Everything’s on the homeowner, and they don’t know all the shoddy work that goes on behind the scenes.”

Despite the reported structural problems, the home was approved by a Town of Summerville inspector in 2019.

WCSC reports that multiple lawsuits against D.R. Horton have been filed in counties throughout the state, and many are in Berkeley County. Lawsuits filed by homeowners against the company allege improperly installed roofs and persistent drainage problems, resulting in consequential damage to houses.

A septic tank class-action lawsuit filed by homeowners in Preston’s French Quarter neighborhood, against D.R. Horton, states drainage in the entire neighborhood is failing.

“Horton has left the building; they sold all the houses,” Preston added. “It’s a beautiful neighborhood; the people here are wonderful, but we’re concerned with the homes and what we have to deal with.”

The class-action lawsuit consists of more than several hundred people, with the drainage failure eventually resulting in effluent (fluids and gases) permeating at or near the surface of the yards, rendering the properties partially unfit for habitation.

“I’ll never buy another D.R. Horton home again,” another home buyer, Myk Barbero, said.

In 2019, the Barberos moved into the same Summerville neighborhood as the Molways. Soon after moving in, he noticed leaks and cracks coming from the ceiling.

“I mean, that stuff happens, but when you keep having these problems because things weren’t done right or bad materials were used, like, come on, man,” Barbero said. “If I wanted that, I would’ve bought a $50,000 shoe box and poured my paycheck into it every other week.”

Since moving into the home in 2019, the Barberos have needed five repairs on their roof, costing them thousands of dollars.

“This is not what we expected; we bought a new house,” Barbero said. “You feel like a sucker, at least that’s how I feel, and I think that everybody in the neighborhood is not too happy with that, either.”

Once again, the home was approved by a Summerville inspector in 2019.

When asking for answers, the financial burden typically falls on the homeowner once D.R. Horton has completed the build.

“What happens if you want to sell your home now? Somebody’s going to inspect the house before it sells,” Preston said. “Now, all that burden, all that cost, is going to be on the homeowner because it was never done correctly.”

“How are we going to afford to do this, again?” Molway asked. “It’s definitely not something we thought of in a brand-new house. You’re putting on a new roof, new windows, doors and drywall.”

D.R. Horton responded with the following statement regarding this report:

D.R. Horton is committed to providing quality customer service in the greater Charleston area and across the country. We are not aware of any outstanding warranty items at the addresses you referenced, and we encourage any homeowner with a concern to contact our local division directly at charlestonwarranty@drhorton.com.

Copyright 2024 WCSC via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Homeowners say their new D.R. Horton houses are practically falling apart months after moving in (2024)
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