• Report: #1048766
Complaint Review:

Vista Home Improvements

  • Submitted: Mon, May 06, 2013
  • Updated: Mon, May 06, 2013

  • Reported By: Shauna Torok — Hermosa Beach California
Vista Home Improvements
5391 Via Vincente Yorba Linda CA 92887 Huntington Beach, California USA

Vista Home Improvements a homeowner Huntington Beach, Yorba Linda, Calabasas, Vista California

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Dear California State Contractors Licensing Board 

EPA  And Navigators Insurance.

This is a complaint in regards to Vista Home Improvements as of Oct 24, 2011

Vista Home Improvements owner Steven C. Ritz 949-433-3652

5397 Via Vicente

Yorba Linda, CA 92887



Lic# 420394

Johnny (Shahar Cywiak)323-527-7278

Molly 818-455-8004

In August of the year 2011 I was thrilled when I met Johnny…I was so at ease…I “knew” I would be taken care of…He assured me he would be there to oversee things and lead me to believe HE/Johnny was the contractor…and would make sure everything would go well and that the work would be pristine. We discussed how I wanted a layered decking product and he promised that Vista had products they used I would like. He knew my husband had recently passed away. My husband and I made a major decision to have the deck redone only days before he died and I wanted to fulfill this dream for the safety and beauty of our home. I was proud to have chosen Vista to do the work in my husband’s memory. I trusted that I was in VERY good hands and that I could relax because Johnny was a really good guy and would do the right thing and all for a very competitive price.. [continued below]....


 Below is the typed version of the wording handwritten on the contract.

* demo and remove water proof system including the railing all the way to the bare wood.

* replace wood where needed (damaged wood)

* build a solid wall about 42” high by 12 ft made from framing and stucco.

* build 4 posts in L shape to match the posts on the front of the house

* install glass on top of the wall 30” x 7 feet, glass should be secure glass

* paint the new wall to match the color of the house

* provide new water proof system on top of balcony approx. 280 square feet

* install new flashing around the balcony

* install 2 french doors (provided by owner)

Our first example how I was NOT taken care of was when Simon showed up to unload the new Doors from the truck but didn’t stay the 15 min it took for the doors to show up.

Simon left ….then the door guy arrived and I waited and waited for him to return….But instead a neighbor and I had to move those things when Johnny said there would be someone to help….This event triggered a sense of concern……I tried to dismiss it because I had already paid them and wanted to trust my choice in them, My mistake because it was just a preview of the mess that followed.

Lets start with my list….

1. Johnny measured the existing thickness of the old jamb to make sure that I ordered the right size door…He gave the wrong dimensions…. I have a witness to his “jamb” measurement. (please refer to email from Tara at ETO Doors) The jamb does not accommodate the stucco mold for the wall thickness…i.e.: Jam + Stucco molding exceeds overall wall thinness.

2. I informed Johnny of the cement-like stuff that was under the band-aid of roofing material and hot mop. Our good friend Steve Solberg had fixed a leak for us a few years earlier. When the 2 non-English speaking men from Vista tore off the top layer of hot mop and roofing material from the deck, they left behind the cracked cement. They were about to Hot mop over this old cement That is when I stopped these men because I never agreed to hot mop and I had expected the cement to be completely gone – like what was written in the contract (to the bare wood).

3. Johnny bragged about how his company didn’t make a mess. BUT

I have video tape of the rubble everywhere in my garage when they finally did demo the cement….No effort to protect my belongings was taken until I sat there and wept. My deceased husband’s clothing and belongings were rained on and pummeled by this rubble.  Since then I have discovered that any Magnesite (the cement stuff) installed prior to 1974 was manufactured with asbestos. My whole garage and all my belongings there in have been contaminated…..the only things left of my beautiful husband were covered in this crud.

4. The pillar structures were next. They were built on the planking that had been revealed under the magnesite. They were built at exactly 42” high with framing that did not match the drawing I gave to Johnny back in August. I asked Simon why he didn’t follow the drawing and then Simon said “What drawing? I never saw a drawing!”

Simon NEVER asked me how I wanted it to look. 

5. Meanwhile….My roommate Ramsey Anderson (see note from Ramsey) watched the workmen NOT replace the damaged wood that was revealed under the cement.  It clearly states that the damaged wood was to be replaced in our contract. They then covered these rotten planks with plywood. Nailing it down as to hide the damage. All this plywood was installed “for free” according to Simon.

6. I asked several….several times to be presented the layered decking products or method they planned on using…like dex-o-tex or Westcoat……but I was never given a sample to look at…I left a message with both Johnny and Molly on this request 3 times each.

7. Now that the plywood was installed, the structures were now 41” tall.  Johnny insisted they only needed to be 36” tall according to code.

8.  About this time my neighbor Fletcher Dragg, a former construction worker, was the first to point out how none of the wire prep work for the stucco was plum or straight.  He was also worried about how the shearing installation looked sloppy. They still put cement on it…The edge of the old deck was never trimmed so the flashing stuck out revealing the rotten wood edges. It was soooooo ugly and the framing not high enough….that’s when I made them trim the rotten wood and replace the edge flashing,

9. My iron guy Kelly Barr then delivered the wrought iron. He discovered there was no way to mount the railing because the support pillars were not to code.  That’s when I went to the city and got a copy of the code to show to Simon that 42’ high had been the law since January.

10.  At this point the workers decided to add bits and pieces of 2x4 to the top of the 41” pillars with stucco to make it taller to accommodate the iron. They added the decorative caps made of foam to match my original drawings and they made it look pretty….But I know…..and my neighbor knows how halfway done it is underneath.

11. Simon announced to me that he was going to tile the deck….when the contract clearly states I wanted a Waterproofing system ie: a layered decking product….

12. I insisted I didn’t want Hot Mop…But Simon had the workers hot mop my deck anyway, insisting it would be absolutely waterproof (as he stomped his foot).  Simon must have been very confident in this hot mop….. maybe that’s why the job site was not tarped when it rained three days later, resulting in a flood (see video) in my garage damaging my oriental rug (a gift from my deceased husband). I will need to find out if the same flood has ruined the wall beneath the door on the other end of the deck, which nobody can physically get to or see at this time.

13. The mahogany stain grade custom doors must be removed and reinstalled.  And perhaps replaced or at least re-milled because of the faulty measurement done by Johnny. And Simon told me to buy the stucco molding myself after they had already damaged the mahogany doors with stucco stains.

14. There is also visual evidence of insufficient framing around the doors. The head of the doors are loose from the stucco and there was no flashing installed (you can see straight out to the sky from inside the house). There are shims jammed in all around the doors and they are sticking out. And no protective layer of masking tape was used to protect the wood before the stucco was applied.

15. There is visual evidence of threshold incorrectly sealed. You can see into the sub floor from where the 2x4 is stuffed in there. The framing on the doors is very poor. You can see the light of day through the walls. And the plastic weather strip under the bedroom French door has been removed….it appears to have been done so to make the doors fit in the wrong sized space. The doors were perfect before installation.  And to top it off, the installer used screws and roofing nails…not finish nails to install my stain grade mahogany doors.

16. Door alignment not racked correctly. They are not square. And because the doors are too wide, repairing the interior plaster and exterior stucco properly is impossible. There is no paper installed for wind and weather protection.  And I’m not sure if there was ever a lathe inspection because they never pulled a permit for the installation of new doors.

17. I hired someone to consult on and to evaluate what he saw…in short, he was appalled at the inadequate work.

18. The wiring is dangerous on the tops of the pillars…there is no conduit tube….just wires poking out of the flat stucco surface.

19. It has been brought to my attention that not installing safety rails is a violation.

20. It has also been brought to my attention that taking my money before the materials are on my property is collusion, especially when I asked for an itemized list of materials and offers a place to put them.  Johnny seemed to be in an awful hurry…pushing me to sign a 3 day waiver form…I also added a handwritten note on carbon copy paper which holds him personally accountable to a good outcome. This was to be included with the contract papers stating the expectations I had of him. (strangely enough my carbon copy of that portion of the contract was not put in my contract folder)

21. When I called a meeting with Anthony, a decking expert, he witnessed Simon say “Johnny told me it was a flat roof”…… Nowhere in the contract is the job referred to as a roof….this is evidence Simon never looked at the paperwork.

22.  When Simon was confronted about what layered decking product he planned to use his delayed and sheepish response was “Stretchguard” which is a product used on walls and roofs not on a walking deck surface.

23. No one spoke English on site…

24. Johnny didn’t come back to the site until things started going wrong

25. I was never given Simon’s number so I could be updated

26. I relied on the non-English speaking workers to communicate with the “boss”

27. I was forced to ask them to leave because the work was AWFUL…I called Jonny and the office to let them know they were not welcome back..

28. THEN a week later Simon told the glass installers to just enter and install the glass wind break (with no permission from me) 

see video  ... I asked them to stop trespassing...I called Molly at the office immediately...even she seemed horrified that they had enetered my house without calling first or even knocking on the door......

Simon and Johnny were frustrated with me for stopping the job…. 

They said I was talking to too many friends…..

Molly got my calls, Johnny got my calls….finally I was being heard.

This job will be made right!

But I do not trust Vista Home Improvements or their employees.


Vista Home improvements lied!

I expect to be reimbursed for what was done wrong and compensated enough to hire someone else to have the mess they made removed….

Vista is accountable for all of this… and the PAIN it has caused me… and the fear it has caused me…. and lack of faith in others it has created in my time of extreme grief.

The house is still inder a bag.... I also have video and Forensic evidance of the whole thing if anyone is interested

I have since had the the garage tested for lead and asbestos...All that mess was contaminated, it has been remediated at a great cost to me. All the work they did caused structural damage and must be removed.

An now I found out that they were not covered for the damage because Navigators Insurance said Vista was only supposed to install tile......really!!!!

Shame on Navigators for insuring a Fraudulent company. Vista represented themselves as having insurance and an EPA certificate to protect me...they did not follow Contractors law and are under investigation

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/06/2013 11:52 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/vista-home-improvements/huntington-beach-california-92647/vista-home-improvements-a-homeowner-huntington-beach-yorba-linda-calabasas-vista-cali-1048766. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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