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Criticisms Of Texas Residential Construction Commission
Tuesday, 25 January 2005

KXAN TV Austin: Criticisms Of Texas Residential Construction Commission

Last session, Texas lawmakers created a new state agency to tackle trouble with home construction. Now there are accusations it is hurting homeowners.

KXAN TV Austin
Criticisms Of Texas Residential Construction Commission

Last session, Texas lawmakers created a new state agency to tackle trouble with home construction. Now there are accusations it is hurting homeowners.
Critics say home builders with deep pockets were able to pressure lawmakers into creating an anti-consumer agency. They claim homeowners actually have fewer rights than they did before.
David Ross says the new state agency that could help him in a dispute over repairs with his home builder, costs too much and would take too long.
"Even to just get the complaint on record, I'm looking at hundreds, if not thousands of dollars," Ross said.
Ross would file that complaint with the new Texas Residential Construction Commission, or TRCC, set up by the Legislature two years ago.
"This bill took away the rights of homeowners," Fred Lewis with the Campaigns for People said.
Now consumer and campaign finance reform groups say the TRCC was bought and paid for by home builders to shield them from liability, not help consumers. The groups say home builders have given lawmakers nearly $9 million in the past four years.
"Homeowners in Texas will have very few remedies to enforce the redress in shoddy construction," Lewis said.
The TRCC's Executive Director Stephen Thomas says his agency is setting up and enforcing rules to strengthen home construction. For the first time ever, there is a state mandated new home warranty with performance standards and dispute resolution process a homeowner must go through before going to court.
"Our intent is we want to get it resolved in the first 30 days before we even get through the dispute process," Stephen Thomas with Texas Residential Construction Commission said.
Many like Ross still believe the system favors the home builders.
"To even get the complaint on record I'm out a significant chunk of money and the builder is not required to bring anything to the table," Ross said.
One of the house sponsors of the legislation that created the TRCC says it's quite possible adjustments need to be made and that will be looked at this session.
After all he says, the agency and the law, are less than two years old.
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