- By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
The homes built in New Orleans Lower 9th Ward helped bring people back to their neighborhoods, but the houses built by Brad Pitt’s Make it Right foundation after Hurricane Katrina are falling apart and now the charity is being sued because those who moved into the homes say they are rotting and are dangerous, NBC News reported.
Some of the homeowners said the houses have mold and are collapsing. They have had electrical fires and gas leaks.
The homes were called unique but affordable when they were built 10 years ago, NOLA.com reported.
Those who moved into some of the 109 homes that were built are suing the foundation because they said the group built substandard homes.
“While the citizens of the 9th Ward are grateful to Brad Pitt, they are forced to file this lawsuit because the Make it Right Foundation built substandard homes that are deteriorating at a rapid pace while the homeowners are stuck with mortgages on properties that have diminished values,” the attorney for the group, Ron Austin, told NOLA.com.
The homeowners filed the suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Friday.
The homes’ designs and materials did not account for the region’s humid and rainy climate, NBC News reported.
The owners, according to the lawsuit, said they knew the homes had issues as early as 2014, but thought that the foundation would make repairs. From 2016 to 2018 , the foundation had inspections of the homes done, but the owners who asked for the reports produced from the inspections were not answered or were deferred, the complaint said. The lawsuit claims that the engineers found issues but the foundation did not tell owners about them as the homeowners got closer to Louisiana’s New Home Warranty Act deadlines, NOLA reported.
The suit also claims that Make It Right gave homeowners nondisclosure agreements that forced them into arbitration before making repairs. But the documents were not fully explained to the owners, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by two homeowners who say they are representing all who bought homes from the Make It Right Foundation, People magazine reported.