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Sunday, 29 April 2007

A message from Janet Ahmad - Sixty Texas Representatives support a Home Lemon Law to Reform the TRCC, Homebuilder Agency

A message from Janet Ahmad
Sixty Texas Representatives support a Home Lemon Law to Reform the TRCC, Homebuilder Agency
First let me thank all of you who took the time to contact Texas lawmakers encouraging them to strengthen TRCC’s enforcement powers over builders, and to make the agency more consumer friendly through a process that is voluntary, free, and effectively enforced.  Although we did not get some critical amendments to restrain the unregulated Homebuilding Industry history was made.

In an unprecedented, history-making event State Representative Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, introduced a Home Lemon Law Amendment sparking a spirited debate on the Texas House floor and by the time the votes were cast it was clear that 60 lawmakers, including 10 republicans, had voted in support of a Home Lemon Law… See debate: Representative Thompson’s Lemon Law Amendment

http://www.house.state.tx.us/media/chamber/80.htm
Click on 04/24/07 1:15 p.m. - 9:06 p.m. Start at 4:36:17 ending at 4:49:42
Texas State Representative Swinford claimed it would add cost to all homes with a lemon law.  Representative Senfronia Thompson responded, “Are you saying that protecting the safety, health & welfare of a person when a homebuilder builds a house, and he does it in a manner that creates a defect or a safety problem that it adds to the cost of building a home?

Members, if you want to protect unscrupulous builders you need to vote with Mr. Ritter.

But, if you want to be with the people, who are paying their hard earned money to make the greatest investment that they are ever going to make in their life, and that’s a home, then you need to vote no on the motion that is on the table.

Amazing - builder logic is that Texas builders have to build substandard lemon homes or it will cost 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
 
**********************************************************************
NEWS UPDATES: 

Press Release: Sixty Texas House Members Support a Home Lemon Law
Sixty Texas Representatives Support a Home Lemon Law to Reform the TRCC, Homebuilder Agency
 In an unprecedented, history-making event State Representative Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, introduced a Home Lemon Law Amendment sparking a spirited debate on the Texas House floor, in which legislators defended Texas homeowners who have been sold defective homes by shoddy builders. The amendment was tabled by a vote of 83 to 60.  However, 60 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans, had voted in support of a Home Lemon Law, the first ever to be considered or debated by any State Legislature in the nation.  Read more...

The Oregonian - $50,000 vanishes, along with their contractor
Remodeled - A Damascus couple get heartache and a pile of fixtures instead of a master suite and studio
 Half a year later, their money and their contractor have disappeared and they have learned a heartbreaking lesson. Although Oregon homeowners now have more access than ever to contractors' license and dispute histories, the state provides little remedy and no guarantees... An investigation by The Oregonian in 2005 revealed that weak state laws and passive enforcement by the state Construction Contractors Board have allowed unscrupulous or financially troubled contractors to remain in business and avoid paying penalties levied by the state agency. Read more...

AMERICAN-STATESMAN: Lively Debate on Lemon Law Amendment
House bill targets builders who fail to repair defects
The Texas House tentatively made it a crime for a builder to fail to register with the state, but rejected an attempt to require contractors to buy back houses with serious defects. The sponsor of House Bill 1038, Rep. Allan Ritter, D-Nederland, said the Texas Residential Construction Commission has had problems...By 83 to 60, the House rejected an amendment to require builders to buy back houses with defects that create a safety hazard or reduce the home's value 5 percent or more if the defect can't be fixed. Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, said the amendment would add to the cost of everybody's house, but Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, shot back: "I'm not trying to protect unscrupulous builders." Read more...

KENS 5:HOBB members present for House debate on home lemon law
House considers home lemon laws
Mirasol residents returned to the Texas Capitol Tuesday to push for legislation that favors homeowners during disputes with builders. Mirasol homeowners are in a rent-to-buy housing program with the San Antonio Housing Authority, and many say their homes have toxic mold and were built with sub-par materials and shoddy craftsmanship....The Texas House of Representatives debated the bill Tuesday. Mirasol residents made the trip to support the bill's passage. Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, added five amendments to the bill. She's in favor of the bill because she has her own history with defective construction. Read more...

Express-News: SAHA tightening the evacuation process
Mirasol residents to select representatives
In a step toward finding a "community solution" to the highly publicized problems at Mirasol Homes, City Councilwoman Patti Radle has called a meeting next week so residents can choose representatives to begin negotiations with the parties involved...Homeowners advocate Janet Ahmad, who is working with the residents, said she thinks they will attend Radle's meeting, but that "a whole lot of discussion needs to take place before"  final decisions are made on a process. SAHA, however, is tightening the evacuation process. The agency is requiring that doctors who recommended that patients be evacuated verify under threat of federal felony charges that they stand by their recommendation after reviewing the mold test results. Read more...

Mortgage fraud scheme
Nine Arrested On Mortgage Fraud Charges
The FBI arrested nine people Wednesday on charges of engaging in a multimillion-dollar Queens-based mortgage fraud conspiracy, authorities said. Assistant FBI Director Mark Mershon said 10 people were named in court papers, which identify three of the conspirators as principals in New Generation Funding, a mortgage broker with a branch office in Jackson Heights. Court papers say they recruited "straw buyers" from the Bangladeshi community to purchase properties with false identities and to secure mortgage financing. Read more...

Another Mortgage Fraud Guilty Plea
Alleged ring leader pleads guilty in mortgage fraud case
A man accused of being the leader of a mortgage fraud ring pleaded guilty Friday to wire fraud. Kourosh Partow was part of a group of seven Anchorage residents federal prosecutors charged with deceiving mortgage lenders by overstating income and assets on loan applications. Read more...

More on the Arizona Land Baron Jim Rhodes
Baron's aim was 5,500 homes on 1,200 sites, Part 2
 In December, Las Vegas developer Jim Rhodes became the most influential developer in the East Valley of Phoenix by spending $58.6 million on more than 1,000 acres of state trust land in Apache Junction.What officials at the State Land Department didn't know was that Rhodes, 48, has admitted to illegally using his money to aid powerful politicians in Nevada; that he has repeatedly and successfully been sued over allegations of fraud, theft and self-dealing by his investment partners and others; and that he has a long history of complaints for shoddy workmanship...There was stiff opposition from the beginning, but Rhodes pressed ahead. He launched a glitzy television campaign to sell his plans to the public, and hired former Clark County, Nev., Commissioner Erin Kenny to sell them to the Clark County Commission. Read more...

Knowledge and Financial Responsibility are Optional for Texas Builders
Texas Lawmakers Debate HB1038 to Reform the TRCC, Home Builder Agency
After a scathing State Comptrollers’ Report on TRCC, years of criticism, scandals that included a $1,052 lunch, $573,000 public relations spending and more – lawmakers recognize the need to reform the agency and to regulate the homebuilding industry. A number of other bills have been filed to strengthen TRCC’s enforcement powers over builders, and to make it more consumer friendly through a process that is voluntary, free, and effectively enforced. Read more...

DR Horton: Mortgages - If a buyer is warm and has a pulse, we want to put them on paper
Home builder D.R. Horton earnings plunge 85 pct
D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI.N), the largest U.S. home builder, said on Thursday quarterly earnings fell 85 percent...The mortgage mess led Horton to increase its loan loss reserves by about $14 million during the quarter, as it saw some increases in early defaulted mortgages. During the quarter, Horton originated about 68 percent of loans to prospective buyers. Subprime loans -- those given to borrowers with weak credit histories, and a current concern in the mortgage industry -- accounted for less than 2 percent of those. Loans that required little or no documentation, which have also come under scrutiny recently, accounted for about 40 percent, down from 50 percent... Unlike other home builders, Horton said it has no plans to weed out potential buyers who may not be able to qualify for a loan in order to bring down the cancellation rate. "As I've said to all our salespeople, if a buyer is warm and has a pulse, we want to put them on paper," he said. Read more...

Part One: Shady Past Developer given sweet $58.6 million deal
Land baron has checkered past
What they didn't know was that Rhodes, 48, has admitted to illegally using his money to aid powerful politicians in Nevada; that he has repeatedly and successfully been sued over allegations of fraud, theft and self-dealing by his investment partners and others he's done business with; and that he has a long history of complaints for shoddy workmanship and construction defects from people who bought his homes...Rhodes' attempts to blame his underlings failed. He reached an agreement with the FEC, announced last year, admitting he controlled the scheme, ordered the reimbursement checks and directed company ledgers to be falsified. He and his companies paid a fine of $148,000 to settle and end the investigation. Read more...

Bexar County Home Foreclosures & Mortgage Fraud Rise
Home ownership could turn into a nightmare
The number of Bexar County homes going up for foreclosure rose to 8,819 last year from 8,395 a year earlier. For the first three months of this year, they already stand at 3,173 — and experts said consumers' inability to make payments on subprime loans has been a principal reason for the rise. When the U.S. housing market hit its 2005 sales peak, about one in five new mortgage loans was subprime — or about four times the number of subprime loans made in 1995...Yu recently completed a study that tracked the high amount of foreclosures in the East San Antonio housing development Highland Farm...Yu said the subdivision, built by Armadillo Homes and subsequently sold to KB Home, was one of many around the city where the builder steered first-time home buyers to its own mortgage company. In some cases, builders offer cash incentives for buyers who go through its financing process. Read more...

Be Aware! Builders can't force you to use any particular lender
Beware of Builders Bearing Gifts and Pushing Lenders
Builders can't force you to use any particular lender; federal law prohibits it. Nor can they dictate whom you must use for other settlement services, such as the title company or homeowner's insurance provider. (Lenders can choose who will perform the appraisal.)... Ryland Homes, for example, has an in-house mortgage company, Ryland Mortgage, which deals only with people borrowing to buy a home built by Ryland. Brookfield Homes, the company offering as much as $100,000 in concessions, owns a mortgage subsidiary called the Mortgage Group. Although the law says builders can't force you to use their in-house lenders, nothing says they can't do their best to entice you to keep all your business under their roof. Read more...

 
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 Texas, First Home Lemon Law Debated in the Nation
Homebuyers Need a Home Lemon Law

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