Report: #607737

Complaint Review: Southern Energy Homes - Clayton Homes

  • Submitted: Wed, May 26, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, May 26, 2010
  • Reported By: Amanda — Talladega Alabama United States of America
  • Southern Energy Homes - Clayton Homes

    Double Springs, Alabama
    United States of America

Southern Energy Homes - Clayton Homes Warren Buffett Poorly constructed - Dangerous to health - Sinus and skin problems - Crushing American Dream to own home - Double Springs, Alabama

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See correspondence below. Exhibits provided upon request.


May 11, 2010

Mr. David H. Stevens Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner 451 Seventh Street SW, Room #9100 Washington, DC 20410

Dear Mr. Stevens: Thank you for reading my letter and I hope it has reached the appropriate contact for my problem. If not, I would greatly appreciate being directed to the proper authority.

In February 2007 I ordered a custom home from Minton Homes in Oxford, Alabama. The home was manufactured by Southern Energy Homes in April 2007. The home was delivered and installed by Minton Homes and I moved into the home in May 2007. In January 2010 I contacted Southern Energy Homes regarding problems with the home and was told they would not remediate any of the problems without being directed to do so by the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission (AMHC).

On January 11, 2010 I filed a complaint with the AMHC. A copy of my complaint is enclosed for your review (Exhibit A). Because of the seriousness of my situation I was certain AMHC would inspect my home within a couple of weeks. After waiting, what I feel was a sufficient amount of time I contacted Mr. Colley, Program Manager at AMHC and was told that it could possibly be months before an inspection was performed on my home because there were many complaints ahead of mine. I made several phone calls trying to get someone to help me, including to my Senator, Governor, and the Alabama Attorney Generals office, all to no avail. After many calls, including one to Mr. Wallace at the HUD office in Washington, DC, and an email (Exhibit B) begging Mr. Colley for help and sending pictures of my problem, the AMHC sent Mr. Carroll Chambless, SAA Inspector, to investigate my home on February 2, 2010. I was provided a Manufactured Home Consumer Complaint Inspection Report, a copy of which is enclosed for your review (Exhibit C).

By way of this letter I am disputing many of the findings of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission and requesting an investigation by your department of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission, Southern Energy Homes, Minton Homes, as well as any PIA or DPIA involved in approving the design and/or construction of homes manufactured by Southern Energy Homes.

The items I am disputing in the referenced report and the federal code supporting the disputes are detailed in the following pages.


(A) I agree with the AMHC report that it is the retailer/installers responsibility that the site be properly graded and that water runs under the home. The installation manual (Exhibit D), which the retailer had possession of until after installation was complete, states on page 7, Proper selection and preparation of the location where your home will be placed is very important. Avoid potential conditions such as flood prone areas or steep sloping grades that could cause rainwater to flow under your home. Be certain to discuss site preparation with your Retailer. No one at Minton Homes discussed the need for any grading, nor was the manual provided prior to installation of the home. The manual further states on page 7, DO: crown and grade the site to slope water away from the home. As a result of their failures I am experiencing mold problems and deterioration of my manufactured home due to moisture.

(B) Mr. Chambless is of the opinion that the missing vapor barrier under the home is my responsibility and refers me to the manufacturers instruction, moisture control in the Installation manual. I was not provided the manufacturers installation manual until the home had been delivered and installed by the retailer, Minton Homes. Had I been provided the installation manual prior to the home being delivered and setup I would certainly have insured that the vapor barrier was placed in order to avoid the problems I am experiencing. Page 7 of the installation manual states, DO: Cover the area under the home with 6-mil polyethylene sheeting or equivalent ground cover to control ground moisture (ground cover is optional but highly recommended). Therefore, I am of the opinion this is the responsibility of the Retailer, Minton Homes, as they took responsibility for delivering and installing the home, which was not in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Page 10 of the Homeowners Manual (Exhibit E) states, We require that a polyethylene sheeting or another type of moisture retarder be placed on the ground under your Home. Upon taking delivery of the home I was not provided a Homeowners manual. When I contacted Southern Energy Homes regarding the manual one was mailed to me on January 19, 2010. The installer, Daryl Wilkerson, came on February 20, 2010, in response to the AMHC inspection report, to correct the items that were his responsibility. He placed a plastic cover on the ground under the home. However, the cover is not installed properly as it does not cover the ground completely as instructed in the installation manual. The AMHC report fails to designate this item as the installers responsibility.

(C) Since Minton Homes assumed the responsibility of installing the home on my site and did not provide me with the installation manual prior to installation, advise me on proper site preparation, nor object to installation of the home without the site being properly prepared I concur with the AMHC report that the retailer is also responsible for correcting this deficit.

(E) I concur with the AMHC report that the retailer is responsible for correcting the AC condenser drain line that terminates at the A/C evaporator and allows the drain water to drain under the home.

(F) The AMHC report references section 3280.307 of the code as the basis for the opinion that the windows throughout the house are sweating and several have dark discoloration mostly at or near bottom of windows. Mr. Chambless is of the opinion that this is my responsibility because one of the exterior windows in the living room has a hole in it, there is an LP gas heater located in the home, and no vapor barrier installed. Because of the finding of mold on the HVAC unit and believing mold is inside the ducts of the home I purchased the heater not even a month before Mr. Chambless did his inspection. The window sweating was present before the heater was installed. The heater owners manual (Exhibit F) states on the front cover, This appliance may be installed in an aftermarket, permanently located manufactured (mobile) home.. Joints between dissimilar materials and joints between exterior coverings and frames of openings shall be protected with a compatible sealant suitable to resist infiltration of air or water. 3280.307(b) Wall cavities must be constructed so that ventilation is provided to dissipate any condensation occurring in these cavities; 3280.504(3) installations of window and door frames shall be constructed or treated to limit air infiltration. 3280.505(1) Enclosed are pictures (Exhibits G1-G8) to evidence that the window and door frames are not properly sealed because of the presence of water and mold. The pictures were taken March 16, 2010.

(H) I concur with the AMHC report that the retailer should be responsible for site correction to fix this problem.

(J) I concur with the AMHC report that the white substance on the grass under the home rear end is the retailers responsibility to correct.

(K) Page 43 of the manufacturers installation manual shows figure 38, which is the proper configuration of the flex duct. I enclose pictures (Exhibits H1-H3) of the flex duct in my home, which demonstrate the flex duct is not properly configured and prevents proper ventilation. As evidence in the photos the A-Coil unit is extensively rusted due to the excessive moisture exposure because of improper installation. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Proper Whole House ventilation is essential to the health of your house and to the health of your family. Restricted airflow can result in stale air inside the home and can also result in negative air pressure inside the house which contributes to uncontrolled air infiltration. Uncontrolled air infiltration may result in condensation and moisture issues within the structural components of the house. Be sure the Whole House ventilation flex duct is properly routed and remains unobstructed. Refer to your Homeowners manual for Whole House ventilation operating instructions. Manufacturers installation manual, page 43. Even though Mr. Chambless observed the ventilation system motor to be operating properly during his inspection I do not believe the ventilation system is adequate for the size of the home and request that the airflow rate be tested to insure adequate ventilation. Each manufactured home must be provided with whole-house ventilation having a minimal capacity of 0.035 ft3/min/ft2 of interior floor space or its hourly average equivalent. This ventilation capacity must be in addition any operable window area. In no case shall the installed ventilation capacity of the system be less than 50 cfm nor more than 90 cfm. The following criteria must be adhered to: 3280.103(b) The ventilation system or provisions for ventilation must exchange air directly with the exterior of the home, except the ventilation system, or provisions for ventilation must not draw or expel air into the floor, wall, or ceiling/roof systems, even if those systems are vented. The ventilation system must be designed to ensure that outside air is distributed to all bedrooms and main living areas. The combined use of undercut doors or transom grills connecting those areas to the room where the mechanical system is located is deemed to meet this requirement. 3280.103(b)(2) The home does have undercut doors and there is a transom grill located on the master bedroom door; however, the ventilation system is located in the hallway on the opposite end of the master bedroom in my 82 foot home. The fan on the whole house ventilation system is smaller than the fans in the bathroom and I see no logical way it circulates the air throughout the home as required. I also believe the home is off-gassing formaldehyde at a level above what is allowed by 3280.308 and would like the air quality in the home tested to determine the level. A mechanical ventilation system, or mechanical portion thereof, must be provided with a manual control, and must be permitted to be provided with automatic timers or humidistats. 3280.103(b)(4) There is nothing anywhere in the home that allows for an automatic timer of any ventilation system. A whole house ventilation label must be attached to the whole house ventilation control, must be permanent, and must state: WHOLE HOUSE VENTILATION. 3280.103(b)(5) There is no label anywhere in my home indicating where the whole house ventilation control is. Instructions for correctly operating and maintaining whole house ventilation systems must be included in the homeowners manual. The instructions must encourage occupants to operate these systems whenever the home is occupied, and must refer to the labeled whole house ventilation control. 3280.103(b)(6) I have read the Homeowners manual in its entirety and no instructions are given regarding the whole house ventilation.

(M) I concur that the manufacturer is responsible for correcting the items listed in this section. The manufacturer has been to the home and adjusted the striker plate on the front door. They also replaced the back door and the floor in front of the door due to rotting and mold infiltration in the wall and floor. I custom ordered the home with linoleum flooring throughout. The linoleum in the home is no longer manufactured and Southern Energy Homes installed laminate flooring in place of the linoleum. The laminate flooring and shoe molding were not installed correctly and look horrible. I enclose pictures taken the day after installation of same (Exhibits I1-I3). In the process of installing the floor the wall was damaged and the baseboard was scared. I enclose pictures of same (Exhibits J1-J3). They also damaged the kitchen floor in the process. They had to replace part of the band and back wall on the home, as well as the back door. The back door was not installed properly and would not shut without slamming it. The door casing is uneven and looks terrible. I enclose pictures of same (Exhibits K1-K5). I have been in contact with Nena Wakefield at Southern Energy Homes and she sent a contractor to the home. He came and adjusted the back door so that it now shuts properly but he did not fix the door casing, the shoe molding, the wall damage, or the kitchen floor.

(N) I disagree with the AMHC report on this item. I have not seen any shingles in the yard at any point. Therefore, it is my belief that the shingle was either blown off in transport or was never there. ITEMS THAT ARE CONSIDERED TO BE POTENTIAL DEFECTS AND/OR POTENTIAL NONCOMPLIANCES:

Item 2: I disagree with the AMHC report that it is my responsibility to repair a ceiling fan that was defective upon delivery. I showed Mr. Chambless a nick in one of the blades that was present when the home arrived. I also explained to him that I purchased a blade balancing kit and it did not fix the problem. Minton Homes was made aware of the problem upon delivery of the home and never fixed it.

Item 3: I disagree with the AMHC report that the master bedroom closet shelf pulling out of the wall is my responsibility. All construction methods shall be in conformance with accepted engineering practices to insure durable, livable and safe housing and shall demonstrate acceptable workmanship reflecting journeyman quality of work of the various trades. 3280.303(b) The shelf in the master bedroom closet extends the entire width (16 feet) of the home. There are not enough support brackets installed to support the weight of clothes that a shelf 16 feet across will hold.

Item 4 I concur with the AMHC report that Minton Homes should correct this item.

Item 5 Concur.

Item 6 Concur.

The date of the inspection report is February 2, 2010. I received my copy of the inspection report around February 15, 2010. It is my understanding that Minton Homes received a copy of the report around the same time, as well as instructions to correct the errors the report deemed their responsibility. As of the date of this letter (98 days after the date of inspection report) I have not been contacted by anyone from Minton Homes.

I received a letter from Mr. Colley around March 15, 2010, asking if the items on the report had been corrected and if not to submit a list of the work not completed. On April 5, 2010, I completed the form along with a list (Exhibit L) and faxed it to Mr. Colley . I also mailed the original via USPS on the same date.


I respectfully request a full investigation of my complaints. If your investigation reveals my complaints to be valid I request that you demand remedial action be taken by the parties you deem responsible.

Respectfully, Amanda Stephens


CC: Shaun Donovan William Matchneer, III Director, Office of Manufactured Housing Programs Alabama Manufactured Housing Commission Southern Energy Homes Minton Homes President Barack Obama

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