The committee is considering the issue of consumers being required to agree that they'll take any claims to arbitration in deals such as home-purchase contracts. Janet Ahmad of HomeOwners for Better Building said the San Antonio homeowners' contracts had such clauses for all disputes.
"I live in the Hills of Rivermist... The sliding Hills of Rivermist," said Charles Cervantes, saying when he bought his home, he thought he'd be protected by a warranty if anything went wrong.
Now, he said, "My home is worthless. I'm 61. Too doggone old to start over again."
Cervantes said he used Centex's in-house mortgage and title services when he bought his home. Now, he said he must go to an arbitrator with his concerns and "I'm going to be at their mercy."
Cervantes said it's too late for him, but he'd like to see the law changed to protect his children and grandchildren.
Angelia Ward called herself a "disappointed homeowner" and added, "All I can ask for is fairness.
"I signed the contract," she said. "I am not against arbitration, but at this point, I don't feel it will be something that will be beneficial to me. .. I had plans. I had plans for my children. My life is changed now."
Brian Ramirez said, "I don't feel I can get a fair shake at all going to an arbitrator." He said a home in the neighborhood has lost $100,000 of property value and "possibly more."
He said he was "sick to my stomach" to hear there was proposed legislation in last year's legislative session that could have helped but didn't pass.
Patricia Davila said home values will decrease without a doubt. She said the contractor and builder "should be responsible to the homeowners."