Must Seller Mention a Neighbor From Hell?
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CN) - Lennar Homes promised a woman a "wonderful lifestyle" in a house in a planned community, but failed to warn her she would have a hostile, harassing neighbor from hell, she claims in court.
Cyndee Phoenix sued U.S. Homes Corp. dba Lennar Homes, in Atlantic County Court.
She did not sue the neighbor, Kevin Elville Potter, though the lawsuit does identify him and describe his alleged behavior.
Phoenix claims that before she bought the home, the defendants already had warned Potter, through counsel, to stop his harassing and hostile conduct, which now he directs at her.
Phoenix closed on the home on Oct. 30, 2013, and moved in with her sister and elderly parents on Nov. 7. She says she met Potter during a visit to the house before she bought it, when he came out to complain to defendants' sales rep about lack of services, such as landscaping.
The sales rep "implied that Mr. Potter was no longer eligible (for) services as a result of the time that had passed since his house was purchased," Phoenix says in the lawsuit.
It wasn't until after she closed on the home, Phoenix says, that she learned that "Potter was no longer getting services as a result of Mr. Potter's aggressive, harassing and hostile interactions with several of defendant's agents, employees and/or workers."
Phoenix claims the defendants and their sales rep knew that "Potter had often engage in harassing and hostile conduct," knew of "several volatile instances of it," and knew that Potter "would most likely engage in such conduct" after she moved in.
That has been the case, Phoenix says.
She cites an Oct. 1, 2013 letter from defendant's attorney to Potter's wife, claiming that Potter parked his cars so as to block the driveway of the home she bought, to discourage buyers, and that "the harassing conduct needs to stop immediately."
Phoenix says her problems with Potter began "almost immediately."
"Mr. Potter's behavior became increasingly harassing and plaintiff is worried that Mr. Potter will become violent in the future," the complaint states.
She claims Potter "made death threats to plaintiff's sister," "spit in the direction of plaintiff and her family members," "made snide and racist comments about plaintiff," has "taken pictures of plaintiff's guests and stared them down in attempts to intimidate them," and continued playing his game with the parked cars.
Potter is so intimidating that she and her sister filed court complaints of stalking and harassment and had to hire a security guard, Phoenix claims.
She claims Potter harassed the security guard too, following him for 15 miles on a freeway one day, and that her attorney wrote to the defendants on Oct. 18 that Potter's continuing harassment is "extremely disruptive," but the defendants have "refused to take any action to stop the harassing conduct."
It's so bad that Phoenix is "afraid to leave her own home" and "is constantly living in fear," she says. She says Potter's presence also undermines the property value of her house.
Citing Lennar's promise of a "wonderful lifestyle," Phoenix seeks damages for fraud, consumer fraud, misrepresentations and omissions, and violations of New Jersey's Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act.
She is represented by Brett Datto, with Weir & Partners, of Cherry Hill.