New Jersey homeowners say dream home turned into a nightmare

PEQUANNOCK, N.J. — Rich and Tara Kazdan bought their dream home back in 2017.

"It was perfect. We were going to raise our family. This is the town I grew up in," said Tara Kazdan.

But soon after, water started seeping through the walls and filling their basement, they said. The front steps have begun to separate from their house. Water marks are noticeable on the foundation walls.

"We can’t stop it. And we have no money left. We can’t sell. We feel so stuck," she said.

Kazdan said they have spent close to $100,000 on engineers, experts and pumps to keep the water at bay, on top of the $765,000 they paid to purchase the brand new house on Sunset Road.

At one point they were running four pumps at once, churning out 6,000 to 10,000 gallons of water an hour, according to Kazdan.

The couple are now suing the home's builder and architect. "People said they saw water down here when he was building," said Tara Kazdan. "In June 2018, I was standing down here with the builder and he told me he did hit water."

The home's builder, Robert Sedoti , talked to PIX11 News. He contests that he followed the proper construction process, including town engineering and construction approvals.

He pointed to a town bulletin on groundwater flooding. It states: “This past year is recognized locally as one of the wettest on record… a significant number of homes find their sump pumps running constantly."

The bulletin, dated January 9, 2019, goes onto explain how a high frequency of rain events can cause the groundwater table to rise. It states that the town experienced moderate storms, nearly weekly, from around August through December, causing the water table to rise to near record levels.

Sedoti also provided town records that list nearly 60 homes in Pequannock that have been pumping water from their basements onto the streets.

In his view, he stated, the Kazdan's situation is not unique.

However, the Kazdan’s state they were nearly fined for pumping water onto the street, due to the town's concerns about ice forming on the road during the winter months.

"Township officials began working with the property owners to create a solution for the water so that it was not pumped into the street, creating a safety hazard once the weather turned cold," said township manager Adam Brewer. "The Township prides itself on working with residents to address issues that are of concern and has tried to do so in this situation."

The Kazdan's had to pay to pay to dig up their neighbor's yard and run plumbing, so they could begin pumping water directly into the storm drain.

Yet, they said the industrial pump they’ve now installed, coupled with a generator to ensure it's always running, is only a temporary solution.

"I don’t want this house anymore. I'm worried about the safety of my kids," said Mrs. Kazdan. "We've had the mold testing and the mold down here is through the roof."

Their lawsuit is still pending.

Pequannock Township would not comment on the building's construction.

"With respect to the litigation between the property owner and the builder regarding construction issues, the Township does not have any comment, as it is a private matter," stated Brewer.

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