Pulte Homes has agreed to pay 4,200 homeowners a total of $23.6 million to replace pipes in their Southern Nevada homes because of faulty Kitec fittings. A judge will decide the final amount and payment options within the next 90 days.
Pulte is one of more than 25 home builders involved in the class action suit filed by a group of more than 30,000 homeowners in the Las Vegas area.
The Kitec fittings are fraying due to hard water erosion, causing the pipes to lose water pressure, leak, and, in some cases, burst.
Homeowners' attorney Randall Jones, with Harrison, Kemp, Jones & Coulthard, said his clients are happy with the number put forth by Pulte. "The goal was to recover sufficient funds to re-plumb the whole home and we think this number will allow our clients to do that," Jones said.
The suit began in Feb 2006 and since then Jones said that homeowners who purchased from Richmond American Homes have already settled for more than $10 million for re-plumbing all of the 1,251 homes.
"We are pleased that a preliminary settlement has been made," said Jacque Petroulakis, spokesperson for Del Webb Corp., Pulte' Active Adult unit. "Now it will be up to the court to decide how much of the funds go toward repairs and how much the plantiffs' attorneys receive."
Pulte paid $21 million in 2007 to homeowners in the Sun City Anthem subdivision because of similar problems, bringing the faulty fittings' total cost to $44.5 million.
Homeowners are expected to receive between $4,000 and $6,500, which still falls short of possible repair costs estimated at $8,000 to $9,000.
Canadian-based Ipex, the manufacturer of the fittings, is also involved in the suit and agreed to pay a $90 million settlement in September, with Jones estimating Ipex's contribution to approximately $2,650 per home.
If approved by the court, payments will given to a neutral claims administrator who will schedule repair work on a specific timetable depending on age and need of each home. Only after the homeowner approves all work including repair and cosmetic work will the claims administrator release the funds to the plumbers. Petroulakis said Pulte has taken steps to review the fittings in other communities.
"Pulte was the first and only homebuilder to make an offer of compensation directly to its homeowners," Petroulakis said. "As a result, the majority of affected homeowners in Sun City Anthem have already been able to make repairs to their homes."