Cape Coral home in limbo after botched tornado repairs

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Quinn Alberto said he and his parents are reliving a “nightmare” in their fight against a contracting company they hired to make repairs to their home.

The family signed a contract with IB Homes Inc., a Cape Coral-based general contracting company, to fix the damage caused by an EF2 tornado that ripped through homes in southwest Cape Coral in January.

“My family suffered enough. I don’t want anyone going through this,” Alberto said.

About 178 structures were damaged in that tornado: One home was destroyed, 14 had major damage and 163 suffered minor damage, the National Weather Service said.

It took six months for their insurance company to send a check for the damage sustained in the tornado, Alberto said. Then, they started looking for a contractor to make the repairs.

“We selected this one because he was the one who worked on our neighbors’ homes and they were all satisfied,” Alberto said.

The contract detailed almost $70,000 of work to be done, both inside and outside the home. It took IB Homes three months to complete all the work on the list. The family was told they could move back in in August.

“We came back into the house and we were sick that first week. I mean, I knew something was wrong when you wake up in the morning and you’re having chest pains and your lungs hurt and you’re waking up with red eyes and you don’t know what’s the cause,” Alberto said.

Alberto and his family went to the emergency room and multiple doctors after their symptoms didn’t improve. They told WINK News they had trouble breathing. Documents from those visits list symptoms of bronchitis, nausea, dizziness, and upper respiratory tract infections. The Alberto family says the doctors advised them not to stay in the house.

WINK News walked through the home and was shown a number of things the Alberto family wants IB Homes to correct. Before doing so, we were told to put on masks.

Some of the Alberto family’s concerns include minor issues like grouting, matching tiles, and placement of light fixtures. However, the family says their immediate concern is the air quality inside the home.

Alberto says they noticed mold growing in the ceiling just under an area of the roof that was patched up by the contractor. Alberto says, it wasn’t done properly and with days of rain, mold began to form.

The family had a separate company remove the mold, but they say the patch job still needs to be fixed to prevent future problems.

After looking through the home’s air vents, the family also noticed it was covered in dust and debris. IB Homes told the family the air conditioning was running at times, while work was being done to the interior of the home. They believe residue from the construction process is now in the air vents and circulating in the home.

After noting all their concerns, the Alberto family says they contacted IB Homes and sent them a list of issues they’d like fixed. But so far, no one from the company has returned to the property to address the issues.

“It makes me angry,” Alberto said. “You can’t function right because you don’t feel right. You’re not in your home. You’re living somewhere else, the expenses are mounting because you have to pay for an extra residence and then this particular home, you have no idea when is it gonna get fixed? What’s gonna happen next?”

WINK News reached out to IB Homes, and after multiple phone conversations, our team was told the family’s issues haven’t been resolved due to lack of communication between the company and the homeowners.

IB Homes says they called the Albertos multiple times and no one picked up.

The Alberto family showed us multiple emails sent to IB Homes during the same time frame, in which they never got a response. They tell us they eventually wanted to communicate through email to have documentation of each request and conversation.

The homeowners have already paid more than $60,000 to IB Homes for doing the work, but have not paid the remaining balance of nearly $5,000 dollars. They say, they want their problems resolves before giving the company any more money.

IB Homes has since responded to the family’s request and has threatened to put a lien on their home, if they don’t make their final payment.

“If it was done right the first time, it wouldn’t be a problem. We’d make the payment. They’re happy they got paid for a job and we’re happy that my folks got their house back,” Alberto said.

The family says they feel cornered.

After multiple attempts to resolve the issue, IB Homes has now stopped answering calls from WINK News, and deferred our team to their attorney. After several phone calls and emails, we’ve still received no response.

The Albertos now fear pending legal action from IB Homes will leave their home in limbo.

“We can’t breathe in the house. You know? How would you feel if you couldn’t live in your house?” Alberto said.

IB HOMES LICENSE

WINK News checked on IB Home’s license with multiple agencies.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation says the contracting license for IB Homes has not been renewed and expired on Sept. 9, almost one month after they completed work on the Alberto family’s home.

The company’s expired license leaves the Alberto’s unsure if IB Homes will finish the work properly.

“If we had known that this contractor was going to do this type of work, then obviously we wouldn’t have selected him,” Alberto said.

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