KITEC PLUMBING…. SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED?
On April 19th, our Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association sent an e-mail to all residents containing a statement from The Pulte Group relating to Kitec Plumbing. Presumably, a similar message went out to residents of other Sun City communities which were originally built by Del Webb.
Many of us, including me, were not aware of this issue and had not received any disclosures on this when we purchased our homes. So now the question is whether this is anything we should be concerned about and whether we need to do anything. This e-News is intended to address this issue.
What is Kitec? Kitec is a type of plumbing pipe and fittings manufactured by a Canadian company (IPEX) in the 1990’s. Because of its flexibility, low cost, and ease of installation, it quickly replaced copper in new Del Webb and other housing developments throughout the United States including the early stages of Sun City Lincoln Hills.
What is the Problem? Unfortunately, the brass Kitec fittings allowed a chemical reaction to take place which eventually weakened the fittings causing them to fail. Similar problems caused the pipes to fail. The failure can cause water leakage and flooding in homes resulting in severe property damage. Statistical information suggests that it is not a matter of if the Kitec will fail but rather when the Kitec will fail.
I don’t Live in Sun City, so should this matter to me? This Article arose from a communication to Sun City residents but the Kitec plumbing affects real estate throughout the United States and Canada. Plumbers throughout Northern California are familiar with the Kitec problems and many advertise Kitec inspection and repiping where necessary.
How do I know if there is Kitec in my home? Kitec pipe was manufactured in two colors: blue for cold water and orange for hot water. The side of the pipe is typically marked “IPEX” and the fittings, stamped “Kitec”, may be recognized by looking at the pipe and fittings. The Sun City Association’s 4/19 e-mail included a link: ” this listing ” which lists all of the homes in SCLH and states whether or not they have Kitec plumbing. My review of this list indicates that approximately 2,500 homes out of our 6,800 are affected with Kitec plumbing.
What is the Solution? If you believe you have Kitec plumbing either by observation or inclusion on the List, you should contact a plumber to examine the pipe for defects and replace any defective Kitec pipes and fittings. Replacement will likely require opening the walls and any additional areas where the pipes have been run.
Do I have to pay for the Repair? The simple answer is yes if there is evidence that your Kitec pipes and fittings are failing. You want to avoid the risk of water damage to your home. The second part of this answer however is that there may be a source of reimbursement through the Kitec Class Action Settlement.
What is the Class Action? By the early 2000’s, Kitec pipe and fittings had begun failing. In 2005, the first of what would become several Class Action lawsuits was filed in Nevada. By that point in time, Pulte had bought Del Webb. In 2011, a Settlement was reached in the Class Action which includes potential claims at SCLH. Under the Settlement, a $125,000,000 Settlement Fund was established to pay for the repair of homes plumbed with Kitec.
How do I make a claim for repair funds? To be eligible to receive any money from the Settlement Fund, you must complete and submit a Claim Form by the deadline, January 9, 2020.
How do I learn more about the Settlement and Claims Process? The Association’s e-mail included a link to the Settlement information website: http://www.kitecsettlement.com/.
I was not told about this defect when I bought my home. Do I have a claim against my Seller? California law requires that a Seller disclose to a Buyer all known defective conditions in the Property of which the Seller is aware or should be aware. If your home is one of those identified as having Kitec plumbing, this should have been disclosed to you unless the repairs had already been made. Of course, if your Seller was unaware of the problem and had not had any problems with the plumbing, then there might not have been anything to disclose. On the other hand, if they were aware of the Kitec issue and did not disclose because they didn’t think their home had a problem, then they could still be liable because evidence suggests that the Kitec will fail eventually.
This article is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be taken as legal advice. Every case requires review of specific facts and history, and a formal agreement for service. If you believe that you have suffered injury as a result of Kitec plumbing in your home, please review the Kitec documents linked above and seek the advice of competent legal counsel.
For over 20 years, the attorneys of BPE Law have been advising and representing our clients in their business, real estate, and estate planning needs in California and beyond. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you need help now, please call our office at (916) 966-2260 to set up a consultation.