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HOBB Weekly Update Message
Sunday, 13 May 2007

A message from Janet Ahmad - New York State Public Hearing and Texas Senator heard HB1038, as Lennar gets blasted

A message from Janet Ahmad
New York State Public Hearing and Texas Senator heard HB1038, as Lennar gets blasted
Urgent!  For New Yorkers, don’t miss the opportunity to speak before the Consumer Protection Board this Wednesday,
 May 16, 2007 to help determine how the State can better protect consumers who contract for home improvements.  It is important that everyone concerned with consumer protection attend or give written testimony, even if you do not reside in New York.  See Action Alert below.

In Texas the Senate Business and Commerce held a public hearing on the House version (HB 1038) of what is commonly referred to as the TRCC
‘Homebuilder Protection Agency Bill’.  Despite less than 24 hours notice some folks still managed to show up from Austin and as far away as Houston, Dallas and San Antonio to testify.  The Senate Debate is coming soon so please make plans for short notice to get to the Capitol for the show down.  Click to view video stream of hearing  (advance to 11:15). 

Don’t miss the extensive news coverage about South Carolina homeowners that are demanding Lennar Homes buy-back their defective homes.  For a couple of years now the Lennar scandal have been brewing and is on the verge of becoming major news across the nation.  The bad building practices of Lennar are significant and show a pattern of critical design flaws, construction defects and customer neglect.

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

ACTION ALERT: New York State Public Hearing on Home Repair and Improvement Contracting
New York State Consumer Protection Board Public Hearing on Home Repair and Improvement Contracting
New York is taking the initiative to try to learn how New York State can better protect consumers who contract for home improvements.  CPB is inviting consumers, industry representatives, home improvement contractors, state and local government officials, law enforcement, and other interested parties to offer comments.

Texas Senate Business & Commerce Hearings
Business & Commerce on the TRCC Homebuilder Protection Agency
Homeowners had another opportunity to testify before the Texas legislature.  The ‘Homebuilder Protection Agency Bill’ HB1038 was heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee this past Tuesday where homeowners told lawmakers about their bad builders and bad TRCC experience.   Click to view video stream of hearing:  Senate Committee on Business & Commerce -advance to 11.15 to hear testimony. 

Lennar Excuses and Fears Buying Back Defective Homes
Lennar Division President Reacts to Defective Home Claims
Hull says Lennar knew about the problems before homeowners complained. Lennar offered him about $10,000 dollars for the missing square footage. Hull wants Lennar to buy his home back. Bottoms said in response, “I mean, we are not in the business of buying homes back.  We want to be able to take care of our customers and be able to provide a high level of customer service.” Pro-sight Inspections says it found similar structural concerns in at least three other Lennar homes. Lennar says those homeowners are a small minority compared to thousands of satisfied customers across the country. Read more...

Lennar Defective Homes Interview with Mike Morgan - Defective Homes. Net
Broker Posts Lennar Complaints on Website
If Mike Morgan is the voice for defective homeowners, then his website is his megaphone.  Morgan says he gets 10 to 15 thousand hits a month on www.defective-homes.net.  “Those hits come from consumers that are having problems.  They also come from a lot of people that are looking to buy homes that are researching Lennar.” Read more...

Lennar Defective Homes Continued News Coverage
South Carolina - Lennar Homes in the News
North Charleston City Officials say there's nothing they can do to please unhappy Lennar homeowners. But the number of complaints continues to grow, with many residents alleging the City could have prevented their problems...Lennar homeowners allege their Wescott Plantation homes passed inspections without ever being inspected by North Charleston Officials.

Lennar Homeowners Speak Out
Lennar Homes Investigation Continues
Lennar homeowners allege their Wescott Plantation homes passed inspections without ever being inspected by North Charleston Officials. The complaints have been ongoing for years. And the pressure is increasing on one of the country's largest home builders..Lennar. "In the last week since the reports have started here in Charleston..our internet emails are coming in are about 75% from South Carolina," said Mike Morgan. And the complaints are the same... faulty trusses... structure violations... and in some cases...feeling flat out lied to by Lennar. Read more...

It started as the 'All Broad Fraud Squad' and grew
Mom Turns into Mortgage Fraud Sleuth
Georgia - She used to be a DeKalb County stay-at-home mom. Now she is a nationally recognized mortgage fraud expert and her mission is to spread the word about taking back control. Mortgage fraud can work dozens of ways but here is one typical scenario: Fraudsters move in and flip a house again and again, driving the price up on a property that is not worth it. The fraudsters get big loans from banks and the banks, many times, end up eating the loss. The community suffers from un-sellable eyesores that sit empty for years. Read more...

Homeowners Opportunity - Kick'em While Their Down?
Gloomy outlook from top U.S. homebuilders
Hopes of an imminent housing recovery are dimming as the nation’s largest homebuilders continue to report slumping sales and profits. Toll Brothers Inc., the nation’s largest builder of luxury homes, on Wednesday warned that it won’t meet prior earnings projections while homebuilders Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., Pulte Homes Inc. and D.R. Horton Inc. have reported similar malaise. “Lack of buyer confidence may have served to impede the glimmers of a rebound" Read more...

Rash of Complaints Spell Big Trouble for Builders
As Market Cools, Builders Face Lawsuits and a Rash of Complaints
In the latest fallout from the housing market's decline, disputes are breaking out between builders and buyers who signed contracts for new homes and condos when the market was hot -- and now want to get out of them. Even as many of the new buildings are completed, buyers are filing lawsuits claiming they were duped into purchases they couldn't afford, or victimized through fraudulent investment schemes. Some are scrutinizing their contracts looking for loopholes, or searching out tiny flaws in finished homes that might allow them to back out without losing their deposits. Read more...

New Hanover Co. NC Building Moratorium due to major sewer spills
Developers Worried About Building Ban
A ban on building permits for the area around the ailing Northeast Interceptor sewage line went into effect Thursday. The new restriction is the latest addition to a moratorium that was first put in place in May of 2006 due to several major sewer spills in the area. Since then, the restricted area has grown. It's now the east side of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Read more...

New Hanover Co. NC Building Moratorium
County puts freeze on NEI building permits
A decision by New Hanover County has local realtors concerned.The county began a freeze Thursday on new building permits for any construction project that sends waste to the northeast interceptor sewer line...He says the state's decision could mean an economic disaster. Read more...

Central Kentucky's Largest Home Builder Defies Wetland Laws
Builder developed wetlands without permit
WARNING WAS IGNORED: BALL HOMES DEVELOPED IN FEDERALLY PROTECTED WETLANDS WITHOUT A PERMIT, WHICH IT DIDN'T THINK IT NEEDED. WITH CITY KNOWLEDGE, WORK IN THE FRAGILE WETLANDS WENT ON UNTIL STOPPED BY THE U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS...Central Kentucky's largest home builder, Ball Homes, has been building for years in a federally protected wetlands area in southeast Lexington without the proper permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, whose job it is to protect environmentally sensitive waterways, last year ordered Ball to "cease and desist" from activities that violate the wetlands. Read more...

Anti-Binding Arbitration Movement Growing
Card Check: Binding Arbitration Invites Trouble
More excellent work comes from the Heritage Foundation's James Sherk on the spuriously named Employee Free Choice Act... Congress should reject the idea of forcing workers into binding arbitration because it would put millions of American's retirement security at risk. Unaccountable government arbitrators could force newly organized workers into severely underfunded multiemployer pension plans. Employers' retirement contributions would shore up union finances, rather than provide for their workers' retirements. It is understandable that unions support binding arbitration, but Congress should not give into their demands. Read more...

Task Force Looking for Answers
First meeting of Mirasol Homes task force doesn't go so well
A special Task Force formed to get to the bottom of the Mirasol Homes controversy met tonight for the first time.  With all the players in this Mirasol Homes mess represented now on this Task Force the Devil will be in the details.  Things did not go smoothly.  The task force got bogged down immediately.  See video report

Sewer Spills Lead to New Hanover NC Building Moratorium
Building Moratorium- Building Permits Halted in NEI
Effective immediately, Wednesday, May 9 2007 no new building permits will be issued by New Hanover County for the areas served by the North East Interceptor sewer line. The decision to stop issuing new building permits comes following receipt of a letter to the City of Wilmington by the NC Division of Water Quality, commenting on the city’s ten point plan to rehabilitate the NEI.New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bill Caster, and Water and Sewer District Chairman Bill Kopp Jr., say the county’s decision to halt all new building permits shows the willingness on the county’s part to resolve the sewer issues as quickly as possible. Read more...

Texas Home Lemon Law
PRWeb: History-Making Home Lemon Law Amendment Debated in Texas House
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. The amendment was tabled by a vote of 83 to 60. However, 60 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans, 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...

Investigation into Mortgage Flipping Scam
17 penalized in 'mortgage flipping'
As part of an elaborate mortgage-flipping scheme that has bilked lenders and blighted neighborhoods, a vacant house in the 5300 block of South Laflin Street sold for $165,000 last year and was resold for twice that amount just hours later, state officials said Tuesday. After a three-month investigation, 17 businesses and individuals have been disciplined for their involvement in a mortgage-fraud ring that falsified documents and created bogus appraisals, Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation officials announced Tuesday. Read more...

North Carolina Gov. Easley Developer Deals
Carolina Journal Exclusives Easley Ends Suit, Gets House Deal
In June 1996, one year after N.C. Attorney General Mike Easley settled a lawsuit and granted exceptions to state beach-erosion laws for homeowners at Bald Head Island, the island’s developer sold Easley and his brother a new home — for at least $70,000 less than a comparable home. The Easleys’ $250,000 purchase is now valued at $1,129,270. In December 2005, the same year Easley started his second term as governor, coastal real estate developer Randy Allen sold Easley a choice waterfront lot in the Cannonsgate community in Carteret County. Public records show that Easley paid $549,880. A recorded deed of trust shows he secured a $494,000 loan from Branch Banking & Trust Company. One year later the county tax office revalued the property to $1,198,245. Allen, whom Easley appointed to the Wildlife Resources Commission earlier in 2005, has four large coastal projects under development in North Carolina. Read more...

Janet Ahmad, President
HomeOwners for Better Building


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