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HOBB Weekly Update Message
Monday, 23 April 2007

A message from Janet Ahmad - ACTION ALERT: Showdown from angry families should not be underestimated

A message from Janet Ahmad
ACTION ALERT: Showdown from angry families should not be underestimated
In the HOBB update message on January 1, I said; Texas was once the playground for outrageous homebuilder legislation (TRCC) however, this time the session appears headed for a showdown from angry families stuck with defective homes and their determination should not be underestimated. Whether living in Texas or any other state your participation is important and will provide invaluable experience to tackle the same issues that are destroying homeownership in all states.

ACTION ALERT: Attention, your help is needed.
The Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) Reform Bill, HB 1038 by Representative Allen Ritter, has moved to the House floor and will be debated by the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 24, 2007.  Please come help fill the Texas House gallery and be a part of history.

The bill needs to be amended to strengthen TRCC by making the process voluntary, free, and effectively enforced.
Texas Watch has made it easy to let your voice be heard. Write your legislators immediately and ask them to support pro-homeowner amendments to the TRCC Reform Bill, HB 1038.

For those of you who live in other states and want to write other lawmakers in the Texas House of Representative go to: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/welcome.php to send your comments. E-mail address formula: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Please contact Governor Rick Perry
(http://www.governor.state.tx.us/contact) as well.

Currently, the TRCC lacks the ability to ensure that homes are built to the highest standards. Please support amendments that give homeowners greater flexibility and that give the TRCC the tools it needs to effectively enforce its rules and force builders to repair construction defects. With your help we can tackle the new homebuyer abuses and scams that are destroying homeownership in Texas and threatens all other states.  

In other news read; What the U.S. can learn from Romania and Norway and much more.

We would like to hear from you so, please take a few minutes to post your comments on the H O B B   F o r u m.

Together we have and will continue to make a difference!  Help us to help you by keeping in touch. Your participation is vital.

Thank you,
Janet Ahmad, President
HomeOwners for Better Building

Dallas Morning News: Kendall Custom Homes, homeowners find they share troubles
Rockwall builder accused of providing shoddy service
Kim Crumrine thought her family was the only one having problems with its home and the company that built it. So did Nancy Lee-Borden. And Alfred and Raejean Nunes. Until they started talking to one another. As they met and began to share stories, the homeowners found strikingly similar tales related to Kendall Custom Homes of Rockwall and its owner, Randal Davis. Problems with workmanship, dozens of unreturned phone calls, failure to follow through on repair requests and – more significantly for some – questions about possible overpayments and whether they had valid warranties. Read more...

What the U.S. can learn from Romania
New rules to protect consumers from bad builders 
"The Code is comprehensive and in seeking to address a vast number of issues, contains many quite onerous provisions for the home builder to comply with." However, he cautions that in an industry which historically has a poor reputation for protecting consumers, particularly in the lower end of the market, it is anticipated that it will take some time before the industry is able to properly embrace the good intentions behind the Code. Read more...

What the U.S. can learn from Norway
Bad builders face crackdown
Scandinavia's construction industry was once known for its high quality, but that's changed in recent years. Now many property buyers are experiencing poor workmanship and outright deficiencies while paying higher prices than ever before. One recent study by research firm Byggforsk estimated that poor quality work and a growing tendency to cut corners during the building process are costing Norwegian home buyers alone as much as NOK 13 billion a year... Now the government is growing weary of a the flood of consumer complaints, and officials plan to sharpen the building regulation process and control mechanisms considerably. Read more...

New Homeowner Website: Lack of Building Code Enforcement
Lack of Code Compliance and Rising Homeowner Insurance
Insurance companies pay for damages that would not even exist if contractors actually did their work in compliance with the building code and if building inspectors actually enforced those building codes?  See new homeowner site

Texans for Public Justice continues to follow the money
NEW Lobby Watch: Texas’ 140 Mega-Donors
One-hundred forty individuals or couples delivered more than $100,000 to candidates and PACs in the 2006 elections. Contributions from this "$100,000 Club" of mega-donors totaled $52 million. The Club increased its membership by 54 donors since the 2004 elections and increased the money it delivered by $23 million... While Construction moved up a notch to become the club’s top-spending industry in 2006, this increase is almost entirely the result of homebuilder Bob Perry, who contributed an additional $2.6 million in 2006. Read more...

Harrisburg delays making decision, again, on controversial Manor Ridge development
OK is still elusive for project
A developer who built 110 homes in Harrisburg's Providence Manor subdivision a few years ago tried again this week to get the town to approve 300 more houses on farmland next door. That riled up more than a dozen Providence Manor residents, and they showed up at a town Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday. Residents have tried for years to halt the new development, complaining that the builder did a poor job of designing the roads, green space and amenities in their neighborhood. Read more...

Beware: Lenders most common loan fraud scam
Lee buyers claim fraud
A Miami couple says a mortgage company affiliated with Fort Myers-based First Home Builders altered information to enhance their financing application without their knowing it, jacking up the value of their residence and length of time the husband had been at his job...Officials with K. Hovnanian Enterprises, the parent company of First Home, said their own employees did nothing wrong and the mortgage company, Builders Mortgage LLC, is the responsibility of Wells Fargo — Hovnanian’s partner and 51 percent owner in the joint venture. Read more...

K. Havnanian home loan application altered
Builder not buying couple's bid to back out
Officials with home builder K. Hovnanian Enterprises say a couple who claim their loan application was altered without their knowledge are actually savvy, well-heeled investors who just want out of a bad investment. But the Miami couple say they're unsophisticated buyers and alterations to a loan document made by a mortgage company affiliated with Hovnanian tricked them into buying property they couldn't afford...Chen-Walta said they assumed the information on the document was the same as on their handwritten statement and simply missed the changes. "The fact of the matter is we can't make the payments on those loans. My husband isn't working," she said. "We're not sophisticated investors." Read more...

Austin KENX News: Homeowner visit lawmakers to promote Home Lemon Law
Legislators Focus On Home Lemon Law
How would you like to buy a new home only to find out it is a total lemon.  Home construction scams are now a hot topic at the state capitol. This is an industry that has consistently built defective homes and not been held accountable because they are not regulated, they’re not licensed... The group wants Texas lawmakers to pass a Lemon Law for homes - force builders to buy back homes that are not built to code. There are several bills up for consideration... See Video Report...

Lemon Law Rally at the Capitol
Precious Street residents rally at the Capitol
Homeowners fed up with the mold and workmanship in their homes wanted to complain to the governor. And, like their homes, they want the law rebuilt from the ground up. "They're defective. They've been defective from the beginning. Buy them back and make us whole again. We can continue with our lives,” homeowner Stephanie Battle said..."If builders don't have the consequences to pay for their bad deeds, then homeowners are stuck with houses that they can't sell,” said Janet Ahmad, of Homeowners for Better Building. Read more...

Resident still up in arms - Health better since moving to hotel
SAHA toxic mold tests are negative
KB hired two companies to test for mold in three Mirasol homes on Precious Street, including Estefana Battle's home. The testing was conducted because residents say toxic mold was the cause of many health problems... "Oh, yeah, they tried to insult my intelligence and say that I am not a good housekeeper," Battle said. "They told us everything is normal and we need to clean harder," Crystal De Los Santos said. The results showed that in areas where moisture was present, the visible mold was typical household mildew. The homeowners remain unconvinced. Read more...

Christian Science Monitor: Hardest Hit Foreclosures
Foreclosure's Shadow Falls Across Diverse Set of Homeowners
Now each faces the possibility of foreclosure. They share a common American dream of homeownership, but what's equally notable is their diversity. Their cases hint at the wide range of people who make up the group called "subprime" borrowers, who are now being hit hardest by a nationwide real estate slump. They are white as well as black, old as well as young, and middle-income as well as low-income. As the name subprime implies, these loans aren't for the Rockefellers, but for people with rocky credit records. Yet this category of loans saw an unprecedented wave of expansion since 2002, encompassing millions of Americans. Read more...

Foreclosures Daily.Com: Georgia foreclosures worsen
Number of foreclosures in county skyrockets
The number of foreclosures filed in Gwinnett jumped more than 260 percent from 2000 to 2006, according to statistics compiled by Equity Depot, a company that tracks foreclosures. The percentage increase in Gwinnett was larger than the ones in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb or Fulton counties.Dan Immergluck, an associate professor with the City and Regional Planning Program at Georgia Tech, says the impact of high foreclosure rates in cities across the country, including metro Atlanta, is worsening. Read more...

Building permits afterthought
Home buyer left in the dark
A single mom from Hidalgo County is left in the dark by a home builder, literally.  Connie Alonso says the builder turned her home buying dream into a nightmare. Alonso's brother, Joe Aguilar, e-mailed the Action 4 Listens Line and wrote "what she thought was a good deal has steadily turned into a nightmarish situation". Joe says Connie had a home built by Arroyo Construction on a 5 acre lot, northwest of Mission."She went to the various agencies and they told her this house is not up to code." Surprised, Joe says he and Connie began doing some research to find out why. And they, like us, found out that building permits for the house were secured as an afterthought. Read more...

Breaking point could come in 2008 or 2009
U.S. home builders risk bankruptcy in 2008, experts say
The collapse of the subprime mortgage market may push some big U.S. home builders toward Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection starting next year, according to bankruptcy advisers and lawyers who specialize in the real estate industry..."There is no sword over the industry's head yet," Greenspan said Saturday at a conference of the American Bankruptcy Institute in Washington. "That doesn't mean the industry is not wounded. Instead, the breaking point could come in 2008 or 2009." Read more...

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