ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Johns County family of eight says their home is literally falling apart. They are taking their home builder KB Home to court, claiming the company built them a faulty structure that became inundated with mold.
Katie Branham, the mother in the home, says the house was built in 2009 in Samara Lakes in St. Augustine. She says they are under warranty until October of 2019.
“It’s a death trap, it’s an absolute death trap," Branham said. "I know for a fact mold is here and it’s hidden."
Branham says the home became riddled with mold, cracks forms in the walls, moisture was found throughout the structure and the stucco began to fall off in large chunks inside and outside. She says it's missing hardware and weather barriers.
"Everything we were being told is not what was being done," she said.
KB Home is one of the largest home builders in the state of Florida. They are the same company that settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit with the Attorney General’s Office over widespread construction defects.
Whitney Ray, a spokesperson for Pam Bondi's office says it technically was not a class action lawsuit but it helped hundreds of homeowners when it was settled in February of 2016.
"A total of 650 homes have been repaired because of the investigation and settlement, including 154 since the court entered the Consent Decree," Ray said. "More than 500 homeowners have received restitution as a result of the settlement. Because the settlement was in the form of a Consent Decree entered by the court, this matter has never been closed."
Branham says her family had to pursue a separate lawsuit on their own because their damages were so extensive.
The Better Business Bureau reports more than 100 complaints "closed" for KB Home in the last three years.
Branham says her daughter died December 20th, 2016 in a car accident. Her family is hoping to move back into the home so they can recommend with her since that's where she grew up.
But at this point, she says they still can't move back in because their health was at risk for too long, especially since one of Branham’s sons is on oxygen already and has other medical needs.
"I can’t bring healthy children into this home that are going to end up with lung disease, I can’t lose another child," she said.
Initially, KB Home declined to make repairs for the family's claim, but their attorney, Neil P. O’Brien with Florin Roebig law, says it changed when he got involved.
"I visited the house and then after the visit KB agreed to make repairs, obviously the house was in bad condition," O'Brien said.
Branham says St. Johns County also came by the house and made a call to KB Home with their concerns, worried they would otherwise have to condemn the house.
"They did a substantial amount of repairs, but in our opinion, the repairs are not complete," said O'Brien.
After their repair attempt this Fall, the Branhams ordered air quality tests to make sure it was safe, but the reports showed the home was still uninhabitable after detecting mold.
All this time, the Branhams have been staying in temporary housing which they say KB Home offered to pay for while they made repairs. On Friday, just before 5 p.m., Branham says they informed her that they would no longer be providing rent and they wanted to take up the rest of the issues in court.
"I’m not asking for a lot, I want the mold out of my house, period," Branham said.
The Branhams say there are approximately 20 to 28 other homes just in their neighborhood dealing with the same problems from KB Home. The majority of them have the same law firm.
KB Home responded to First Coast News' questions with this statement:
“KB Home has been working with the Branham family and completed the repairs that were agreed upon. Due to pending litigation, we have no further comment."