I could really use everyone's help against a frustrating builder...

Sherilynn

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Oct 22, 2007
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#1
Dolce Vita Homes has refused to return our $7500 landscaping holdback unless we sign a "release form" (which reads like a "gag order"). We wouldn't sign their original release because it could have potentially limited our rights and available recourse should we have further issues with the property.

This holdback was from our mortgage funds originally to be released to the landscaping contractor upon completion of the work; however the work was not done to an acceptable standard and the contractor has agreed the money should be re-directed to us.

I won't bore you here with the details but you can see them on my Google review of Dolce Vita Homes. Suffice it to say we would NOT recommend working with Dolce. Our experience has been incredibly frustrating and time-consuming and has cost us a great deal more money than we could have ever anticipated.

So now I'm turning to others to help me encourage Dolce Vita Homes to return our funds without us having to resort to legal action, and I hope to alert other property investors and home buyers to my plight.

Please sign and share this petition: Encourage Dolce Vita Homes to Return our $7500 holdback
 
Last edited:
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Matt Crowley

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Dec 14, 2013
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#2
The holdback is there to ensure architectural and landscape requirements and are met. It is standard practice across developers. You only get the deposit back if you take responsibility for defects...that's the whole purpose of the holdback.

You still have a New Home Home Warranty.
 

Sherilynn

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#4
The holdback is there to ensure architectural and landscape requirements and are met. It is standard practice across developers. You only get the deposit back if you take responsibility for defects...that's the whole purpose of the holdback.

You still have a New Home Home Warranty.
Actually, that is not the case at all. This is a holdback rather than a deposit.

We paid $4900 per property (times 3) to have the landscaping included in our packages, and the $2500 per property was our holdback to ensure landscaping was completed to a professional standard (since the builder would be responsible for rough grade and the money was passing through the builder to the finishing landscaper). Once landscaping was completed, the money would be released to the landscaping contractor.

After the contracts were signed, the builder informed us we had no choice but to use their 'preferred' contractor rather than our usual contractor. The work was NOT done to a professional standard and we have been fighting about it for over two years.

Last spring, the builder finally agreed (through BBB mediation) to return our holdback so we could use it as leverage to encourage the landscaping contractor to either fix the work or discount. (We needed the holdback released to us because Dolce Vita took no responsibility for their contractor's work and basically said it was our problem.)

However, they would only refund the money if we signed a general release. The release was so general it could be read to mean we could not complain about anything to anyone - including the new home warranty program. Obviously I couldn't sign it.

Working with this builder for warranty issues is an entirely different issue and I won't start that rant. :(
 

Sherilynn

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#5
Small claims court not an option? This is on a house you own where they did some work that was, in your opinion, sub-standard ?

What is the outstanding work in $ values ?


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The repair quote from our landscaper was $9600. (Always more expensive to fix a bad job than do the job correctly in the first place.)

The landscaping contractor already agreed the money (that was originally destined to be paid to him) could be returned to us. I don't understand why Dolce Vita won't honour that agreement.

It isn't Dolce Vita's money and never was. Their lawyer was simply holding it to be paid from our mortgage funds to the landscaper once the work was complete. They have absolutely no right to keep it when the landscaper has authorized the money to be given back to us.

Court is our last resort. I've already spent over $3000 in legal fees battling the landscaping contractor. I'm hoping public opinion will sway the builder...hence the Google review and the petition.
 
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Matt Crowley

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#6
Did you use your contractor to do the landscaping or did you use the Dolce Vita contractor?

It is pretty typical that a builder would use their own trades to complete the work on a home.
 

Sherilynn

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#7
Did you use your contractor to do the landscaping or did you use the Dolce Vita contractor?

It is pretty typical that a builder would use their own trades to complete the work on a home.
Yes, they required us to use their 'preferred' contractor, but then took no responsibility for their work and told us the deal was between us and the contractor and they had nothing to do with it.

If a builder is going to force a client to use his contractor, he should inform the client before the client signs the contract and also bear some responsibility for making the client choose that contractor and ensure the work is done properly.

If the builder is going to deny any responsibility for his decisions, perhaps he should let the client make her own decisions.
 
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Sherilynn

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#8
And let me make it perfectly clear: this is NOT Dolce Vita's money and never was. This is MY money Dolce was holding to pay the landscaper for work on MY properties. The landscaper has agreed for the money to go to me instead of to him. And yet Dolce continues to hold it.
 
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ThomasBeyer

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#9
And let me make it perfectly clear: this is NOT Dolce Vita's money and never was. This is MY money Dolce was holding to pay the landscaper for work on MY properties. The landscaper has agreed for the money to go to me instead of to him. And yet Dolce continues to hold it.
Send a tightly worded letter from lawyer and if no response within a week go to small claims court. Pretty black and white.


Thomas Beyer, Asset Manager, Investor, Community Improver, Author, Father, Mentor www.prestprop.com
 

Sherilynn

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Oct 22, 2007
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#11
Send a tightly worded letter from lawyer and if no response within a week go to small claims court. Pretty black and white.
Tried the letter. Tried everything but court (which I'm trying to avoid). Besides, I think they need to be tried in 'the court of public opinion.'

For the amount of cash we are talking about here, this is not worth another millisecond of your time.
Although I'd like my $7500 back, there are two bigger issues at stake: a) Dolce Vita shouldn't have the satisfaction of keeping it, and b) I am trying to spread the word to warn other people about my horrible experience.

I've fought for less for a good principle, and I've given up more when I thought it wasn't worth the time and effort and was only about money.