Although crews have worked for almost six months and spent nearly $303,000, the Levitt Corp. still has not corrected building code violations in more than one third of the homes of its Northview development in Bowie, Prince Georgehs County officials said yesterday.
In addition, Levitt is still working to correct major deficiencies in its nearby Northampton development, where cold air has been seeping through the windows and light sockets of $40,000-$60,000 homes, among other problems, according to residents and county inspectors.
Chief county building inspector Arthur Brown said yesterday that although the Levitt Corp. had pledged to finish correcting the more than 2,500 building code violations in Northview by last October, it now appeared that work would not be completed before late April on the 40 to 45 homes that fail to meet building code standards. Seventy-seven homes in Northview now meet county standards, Brown said.
Levitt will probably spend another $50,000 to corect the remaining deficiencies, Brown said, which include leaking and warped roofs, undersized windows in bedrooms, and windows that are not fitted properly.
At the same time, both the attorney general's office and the citizens's association are investigating allegations that Levitt may have defrauded some homebuyers by advertising five-bedroom homes that had only three bedrooms, and by failing to inform residents about sewer installation charges that added hundreds of dollars to the prices of their homes.
Jerald Polovoy, an investigator for the attorney general's office said he had interviewed more than 75 Northview residents over the past two months, said that he would forward his report to the attrney general's office sometime in the next two weeks. If the company is found to have dealt fradulently with home buyers, the state could file an unfair trade practices lawsuit against Levitt, state officials have said.
Levitt officials in Springfield, Va., and Greenwich, Conn., including the company's president, general counsel, and officer in charge of Northview mortgages, were said to be out of the office and unavilable for comment yesterday.
Building inspector Brown and several homeowners attributed the long delay in correcting problems in Northview and Northampton homes in part to the continual discovery of new deficiencies by homeowners and Levitt's failure to fix some defects completely the first time.
But Brown and A.J. Simons, the president of the Northview Homeowners Association, were in complete disagreement on the cause for what both siad was a major source of delays.
"One of the reasons this has slowed down is that people are not as excited and interested in getting this done as they were," Brown said."Some of the homeowners have been reluctant to allow Levitt to come into their homes to make corrections."
"The problem," Simons contended, "is that Levitt makes appointment after appointment, and people take off from work, and then Levitt doesn't show up. So people are getting tired of making appointments with them. The homeowners association has had to set up a housesitting service so appointments can be made without people missing work."