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SIMI VALLEY | VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS

Developer Pays for Condo Repairs

November 27, 1997|SCOTT STEEPLETON

A homeowner association that sued Marlborough Development Corp., accusing the contractor of substandard workmanship, has won a $2.3-million settlement from the builder to repair construction defects, according to the group's lawyer.

An out-of-court settlement agreed to by Marlborough will pay for repair work to begin at the 128-unit Country Villas II condominiums in the Wood Ranch area, said attorney Ross W. Feinberg, who represented the Country Villas II Homeowners Assn.

Marlborough officials were not available for comment.

Some of the units were built in 1989 and others were built in the early '90s, Feinberg said. Construction defects in windows, roofs, framing, and the foundation's grading started to appear in 1992, homeowners said.

"[The homes] are fairly new, and they started to see some problems that they didn't expect," Feinberg said.

Homeowners said the problems were not limited to cracks in stucco.

"The case has deeper implications than just cosmetics," said association treasurer Ed Jakowczyk, who owns one of the condominiums. He said some of the defects could have compromised homeowners' safety.

For example, homeowners accused Marlborough of not meeting the building code requirement for fire stops, the two-by-fours that are placed inside a wall to prevent a fire from spreading.

Homeowners tried to work with the developer on a plan to fix the problems, but were unsuccessful, and filed a lawsuit against the company in June 1995.

A trial was set to begin on Monday, but a settlement was worked out this week with the assistance of attorney Gerald Kurland of Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services.

"The monies are going to be put into a fund that will be reserved to do the repairs that we need to do," Jakowczyk said.

Feinberg said the settlement is "more than enough to do the work."

Feinberg said Marlborough won't be making the repairs. "The homeowners said they wanted certain work done and the developer couldn't do it."

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