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IS YOUR STATE NEXT?
As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation 
TEXAS REGULATES HOMEBUYERS!
NEW HOMEBUYER LEGISLATION MAY BE COMING TO YOUR STATE SOON
!
How Texas Home Building Industry shaped the Texas Residential Construction
Commission (TRCC) and regulates new homebuyers

Homeowners storm Capitol
Wednesday, 22 June 2005
Group demands better regulation of home builders
Janet Ahmad, president of HomeOwners for Better Building, said TRCC's Texas Star Builder Program is the main point of contention. The program allows builders to qualify as "star builders," demonstrating knowledge, experience and history of financial responsibility, Ahmad said. She said this must be made mandatory for builders instead of optional, as it is under the current system. For now, anyone with $125 and a social security number can register as a builder, Ahmad said.

The Daily Texan

State & Local
|
Homeowners storm Capitol
Group demands better regulation of home builders

 
 
Media Credit: Jeremy Balkin
Janet Ahmad, national president of HomeOwners for Better Building, speaks to protesters and the media before going into the building.


Lisa Partington signed over three acres to the builder she sought to construct her home. Nine months later, only the foundation and roof frame had been completed, so she sued the builder and received a judgment of $75,000 against him for deceptive trade practice.

The builder has since registered twice with the Texas Residential Construction Commission as a good builder.

Partington said TRCC told her its legal department registers new builders but doesn't have any real power. Homeowners traversed the state Capitol Monday to correct this.

Janet Ahmad, president of HomeOwners for Better Building, said TRCC's Texas Star Builder Program is the main point of contention. The program allows builders to qualify as "star builders," demonstrating knowledge, experience and history of financial responsibility, Ahmad said. She said this must be made mandatory for builders instead of optional, as it is under the current system.

For now, anyone with $125 and a social security number can register as a builder, Ahmad said.

"Only when it becomes mandatory will this benefit the homeowners," she said.

TRCC, a government funded commission, provides Texas homeowners and the residential construction industry an opportunity to mediate differences through a neutral third party, said TRCC spokesman Patrick Fortner. However, Fortner said TRCC is still in the process of setting up the program guidelines, which are expected to be completed sometime this year.

Ahmad said most homeowners were made to sign a binding arbitration agreement when they bought houses from KB Homes. This causes buyers to give up their constitutional right to sue for defectively built homes, she said.

"You can't talk to the press, put up signs or report your problems to any agency," Ahmad said.

State Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano, told homeowners and members of the HOBB he would look into "how to get the legal department of TRCC some teeth in enforcing standards."

Partington said she has yet to receive the money from the builder, who now owns her land.

"I haven't recovered a dime, and he's still building houses," she said. "I filed two complaints with the TRCC, and they did nothing."
 
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Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
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