Maryland officials are investigating complaints from residents of the trouble-plagued Northview subdivision near Bowie that the Levitt Corp. failed to tell them about hundreds of dollars of annual sewer charges when it sold them their homes.
The state attorney general's office is looking into complaints from about 70 of the approximately 120 home owners that their mortage payments were raised by up to $70 a month this month because Levitt's financing arm, Universal Funding Corp., made inacurate tax bill estimates that failed to include the sewer charges.
Last month the Levitt Corp. gave up its building license in Prince George's County under pressure from county officials unhappy with its work in Northview, where residents have reported more than 2,500 building code violations in their homes since last spring.
Loan information statements made out Universal for Northview home buyers on state forms are left blank on the line for "water and sewer assessments" estimates. The property tax estimates made on these forms and the mortage contracts with buyers are accurate, according to William Kenety, the deputy chief of the state attorney general's consumer affairs division.
The yearly tax estimates were made when the Northview residents bought their homes - beginning in early 1976 - and maonthly charges were added to buyers' motgage payments to cover the anticipated cost.
As in most mortage financing agreements, the monthly tax charges and assessment are held in escrow over a year's period, and the mortage company pays them for its clients.
Two months ago, Interstate Federal Finance Corp., a Washington-based firm that bought most of the Northview mortages from Universal, discovered that many residents had paid hundreds of dollars less into their tax accounts than the firm needed to pay their bills.
The problem, according to Interstate officials and Northview residents, is that the payment estimates failed to include charges for sewer line construction and residents were not notified that such charges existed.
The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) sells bonds to build sewer lines into each new subdivision, and charges home owners a yearly fee for payments on the bonds. The fee, which will be assessed to Northview home owners until their bonds are retired, in 22 years, is included in the county's yearly tax bill to property owners.
WSSC spokesman Arthur P, Brigham said it would have been "highly irregular" for Levitt not to have notified residents of the sewer charges ot included them in the tax estimates.
Kenety said failure to notify home buyers of sewer charges, or include the fees in tax estimates violates no existing state law.But he said yesterday he would consider filing an unfair trade practices Lawsuit against Levitt if he finds that the company failed to deliver such notification.
The manager of the Northview mortgages for Universal, Linda St. Louis, was unvailiable yesterday for comment. Calls to the Greenwhich, Conn., based housing corporations' general counsel, Steven Zapp, were not returned.
Kenety said that he had contacted Levitt officials and asked them about the sewer charges. He said the company's officials had promised to check their records and contact him with a response by early next week.
Northview homeowners, who already are engaged in a battle with Levitt over the company's alleged failure to provide advertised ammenities in some of the homes, charged that Levitt deliberately had failed to include the sewer charges estimates on their purchase contract.