Homebuyers May Get Lemon Law Protection
March 23, 2007 06:28 PM CDT
Imagine getting your dream home built just to find months down the line that it was coming apart.
That's what happened to the Crump family, but without a law in place to protect homeowners, they said they're stuck with a faulty house.
State lawmakers are pushing a bill similar to the automobile lemon law that would protect homeowners. Houston Democrat Senfronia Thompson filed House Bill 2721, which would require builders to fix problems in a new home or buy it back.
"We started to find these up here, where nails are popping down from the ceiling," said Natalie Crump.
Natalie and her husband, Mike, moved their family into a brand-new home just nine months ago.
During that time they noticed nails were coming out of the ceiling, and trusses were shifting - things that pointed to shoddy homebuilding.
"It's really ugly in the attic," said Natalie. "I mean, nails that are missing, miss the two-by-four completely. Wood that should be nailed together that is barely touching."
The Crumps said Lennar Homes told them they would rip the sheetrock from the ceiling to fix the problem. That means moving their 8-year-old and 5-month-old to a hotel for a week, maybe more.
"We've already moved into this house," Natalie said. "Now we have to remove everything, be displaced, go to a hotel, take my daughter to school."
But more discouraging, the Crumps said, was some of their neighbors are also having to get their homes fixed - all from a builder with no answers.
"I get the runaround: 'Well, it was contractors, this group of people or this group of people,'" said Mike. "Basically, Lennar stamped their name on this product. I think it's faulty, and I'd like my house bought back."
Lennar Homes did not return calls Thursday.
Homeowners are supposed to report problems to the Texas Residential Construction Commission, a state agency composed of four homebuilders, one home inspector, one engineer and three public members. Some lawmakers have pushed to reorganize the commission.
The Better Business Bureau has advised that potential homeowners visit the developer's earlier projects and ask residents if they delivered what was promised. Be sure to scrutinize any contract and consider having an attorney review it before signing. Also inspect the finished product before moving in.