Daybreak homeowners frustrated at unkept landscaping promises

Published: Friday, July 1 2011 11:10 a.m. MDT

SOUTH JORDAN — A group of homeowners in the Daybreak community claim they didn’t get what they paid for.

The residents purchased homes from Gold Medallion Homes, a company that is reportedly no longer in business. The homeowners are now hoping the developer will step in and fulfill landscaping promises the builder made to them.

"We paid a premium for the lot and a premium for the landscaping," said homeowner Deron Johnson. "So now we're stuck with having to pay for that again."

The residents now want Kennecott Land to step in and help pay for landscaping they never received.

Gold Medallion documents show landscaping was included in the purchase price of the home. For some homeowners, fencing was also included. But eight homeowners in the master-planned community of Daybreak have been living with yards filled with weeds, rocks and sun-baked dirt for the past year.

“We have beautiful weeds,” said Eber Irigoyen, another Daybreak homeowner who lives on a corner lot. “That’s what we are stuck with.”

When he moved in his new home, he said most homes around him had their landscaping done. He said he expected the landscaping at his home to be completed within a few weeks of moving in, but the contractor kept delaying it. And then the builder reportedly went under.

“I know some neighbors have complained and rightfully so," Irigoyen said, adding that his yard is often the subject of ire from his neighbors with lush, perfectly manicured lawns.

“We did what we were supposed to do. We paid for these houses," he said.

The eight households that paid for landscaping and never received it banded together and turned to Kennecott Land, the developer of Daybreak, for help. They hoped the multinational company would take responsibility for the landscaping of their yards — a cost that could run upwards of $10,000 for the corner lots and an estimated $4,000 for the interior lawns.

“Kennecott had made us a promise last year that when our builder went bankrupt that they were going to step in and take care that for us, or the new builder that came in to buy the remaining lots would go ahead and take care of that,” Johnson said.

But nothing was in writing. Johnson claims it was a verbal promise that was made to several homeowners on several occasions.

Kennecott Land community planning manager Rulon Dutson disagreed that such an offer was made.

He recognizes the frustration of the homeowners and says Kennecott Land offered to provide some help. In a written memorandum to the homeowners, the company offered to provide trees and topsoil, waive each homeowner’s landscape review and approval fees, and offered landscaping expertise and critique of contractor bids and estimates.

“Does it take care of it all? Dutson said. “No, it does not. And we acknowledge that.”

All the homeowners admit Kennecott Land has no legal obligation to help them recoup the loss. A majority of them took Dutson's offer after a meeting among the group of eight last week. Others rejected the offer, saying Kennecott Land should do more and fulfill the promise they claim the company made.

"Kennecott has the ability to control the rules and regulations and the things that happen here," said homeowner Kimball Ungerman, who rejected the offer. "They're not powerless. Yet in this situation, it feels as if they've decided to become powerless on purpose."

"We also have landscaping that the builder committed to install," Dutson said. "It is an unfortunate situation. There is no question why the homeowners would be frustrated."

Several attempts were made to contact Gold Medallion Homes through various phone numbers listed on their website. Some had been disconnected; others were recorded pharmaceutical advertisements.

A court records search of the company revealed a long list of lawsuits filed against Gold Medallion Homes, or variations thereof. However, a bankruptcy filing under Gold Medallion Homes was not located.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc

E-mail: lprichard@ksl.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS