Northwest Progressive Institute
Washington needs a Homeowner's Bill of Rights: Testimony on SB 6385
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Chairman Weinstein and Members of the Committee:
Good morning. For the record, my name is Rick Hegdahl. Im the Outreach & Advocacy Director for the Northwest Progressive Institute, a regional netroots strategy center working to advance the common good through ideas and action. I also run a home remodel and repair business in Bellevue, Washington, where I live Viking Construction so I have firsthand experience with this issue.
Im pleased to be here today to voice NPIs support for SB 6385.
Last year, our online coverage of the Homeowners Bill of Rights sparked tremendous interest from concerned Washingtonians who spoke strongly in favor of the legislation and shared their own troubling stories with us. Its astonishing how few recourses are available to residents who discover deficiencies with their home, such as defective workmanship or moisture buildup that leads to toxic mold.
Washington is sadly one of the few states that doesnt recognize a common law cause of action for negligent construction, which means that losses cannot be recovered unless a building contract specifically guarantees non-defective performance. Because such a protection is infrequently provided voluntarily, homeowners are left hanging when something goes wrong with their most important investment and asset. They are unable to seek the justice they deserve.
Families can lose their lifes savings. Parents can lose the ability to finance their childrens college education.
Hardworking Washingtonians can lose their health and prosperity.
They dont even have the option of going to court. And thats wrong.
Senate Bill 6385 is a simple and essential first step to provide homeowners with the basic safeguards they deserve under the law. Allowing irresponsible builders to escape accountability for faulty construction is unfair and unjust.
There should be an incentive for the entire industry to be committed to constructing quality homes, not just the reputable firms that already go out of their way to treat customers squarely.
The Legislature has a duty to ensure that every Washingtonian has the freedom to pursue a fulfilling life. Our states residents cannot be truly free if they have no way of seeking compensation when their homes begin to fall apart.
We strongly urge members of the committee to support this legislation and refer it to the full Senate for consideration.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.