Moving into a brand-new home is the American dream that drove the late, great real estate boom. But when that dream wilts under the shifting weight of a shoddily built house, we should be able to fall back on another slice of the American dream; the right to be mad as a hornet and to let everyone else know about it.
This is precisely what some disgruntled owners of south East Valley homes homes are doing, advertising their disgust with brand-new homes built by Beazer Homes and Shea Homes in their garages, on their cars, even on their children’s toys.
“It’s just an awareness sign,” Jim Daniels of Gilbert said in a Sunday Tribune article by Sarah J. Boggan and Beth Lucas. “It’s not a condemnation of Shea. I hope people get more backbone and will not be afraid to file against them.”
Daniels and the others profiled in the story are also registering their displeasure through the more conventional channel provided by the state Registrar of Contractors, but that bureaucratic process, while entirely necessary, doesn’t have quite the same visibility as white paint scrawled on the back of a truck, parked in a driveway in a half-built subdivision where people are still hunting for their nest eggs.
Builders and homeowners associations have tried to quell this not-so-quiet rebellion against cracked foundations and leaky plumbing, as is their right in our ever-more-litigious society.
But we’re also hoping juries, judges and HOA boards can give these unhappy campers a chance to make their cases to the court of public opinion. Prospective buyers can see the homes for themselves and judge the credibility of the storyteller. And the pressure these tactics place on the developers could drive the quality of craftsmanship higher for everyone.