NORTH OGDEN—Dale Stewart moved into his brand new home about three years ago. He said almost since the day he moved in, he’s had water issues. Stewart said a French drain under his walkout stairs has failed, leaving him to hand pump gallons of water from under his home daily.
Stewart said he reached out to his home builder, Ivory Homes, for help. A fix was proposed to run a drain to his backyard. But Stewart said after he spoke with North Ogden City, the fix would not work, and he told that to Ivory Homes. “It wasn’t up to code and it just physically would not work.”
Ivory Homes responded after Stewart told their subcontractor that the fix would not work. In a letter from their attorney, Ivory Homes told Stewart his warranty was now void:
“In section 1.4.5 of your Ivory Homes limited warranty book it states, “homeowner must provide an acceptable work environment for the employees of Ivory, and its subcontractors/suppliers. Any use of inappropriate language, violence, hostility, or the creation of a hostile work environment voids this warranty and any and all work being performed or planned to be performed will cease immediately without further notice.” This is not the first time you have treated our employees and subcontractor base with inappropriate behavior. We offered to replace the basement walkout drain system at your home as a courtesy. However, the environment you have created has made that offer untenable. We cannot continue to work with you if you cannot treat our representative with civility and respect.”
Stewart denied he violated the warranty by being rude.
"There may have been some frustration in my voice," Stewart saod. "But as my wife was listening to the conversation, there was not any rudeness at all. I just said that I felt the fix would not work."
Stewart was not the only person in the Mystery Meadows subdivision having water issues. As Get Gephardt reported before, Stewart’s neighbor, Preston Unck, had flooding issues because of a drain that had failed, along with an aquifer running under the ground on his property. In that 2017 report, Unck also had issues with Ivory Homes honoring the warranty to fix the French drain.
"They said it was our problem to maintain the French drain," said Unck, "but you can’t maintain with it being eight feet underground."
Eventually, after our calls, Ivory Homes stepped up to help Unck. But Ivory Homes said it will not be stepping up to help Stewart. Ivory Homes sent this statement:
“Ivory Homes is committed to our mission to build quality homes with lasting value, year after year, producing happy customers who buy again and refer others to Ivory. We have one of the best warranties in the industry and stand behind our work. We have been actively working to address Mr. Stewart’s drainage issues and have proposed a solution that the homeowner recently declined. These efforts are beyond the scope of our warranty as part of our commitment to long-term customer satisfaction.”
The Get Gephardt investigation found that water problems have been an issue in the Mystery Meadows subdivision before the homes were built. After reviewing the North Ogden Planning Commission minutes from 2013, there were serious concerns about building, because part of the area is a floodplain. Some of the land is even considered a federal wetlands, which required a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. That permit had expired when Ivory Homes took over the development. Though several on the commission voiced that the project should not be approved without that permit approval, the vote still passed to approve the subdivision.
We reached out to both the North Ogden Public Works Department and the Planning Commission and asked for comment on the water issues, but did not receive a response to our questions.