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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

HOBB Press Release: Sixty Texas House Members Support a Home Lemon Law
Sunday, 29 April 2007

Sixty Texas Representatives Support a Home Lemon Law to Reform the TRCC, Homebuilder Agency
In an unprecedented, history-making event State Representative Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, introduced a Home Lemon Law Amendment sparking a spirited debate on the Texas House floor, in which legislators defended Texas homeowners who have been sold defective homes by shoddy builders. The amendment was tabled by a vote of 83 to 60.  However, 60 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans, had voted in support of a Home Lemon Law, the first ever to be considered or debated by any State Legislature in the nation.

           HOMEOWNERS  FOR  BETTER  BUILDING
                              
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it - Website: www.hobb.org 
                                               Press Release
 
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       Contact:Janet Ahmad 
    
April 29, 2007                                                                                                    

Sixty Texas Representatives support a Home Lemon Law to
Reform the TRCC, Homebuilder Agency
    

Austin  In an unprecedented, history-making event State Representative Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, introduced a Home Lemon Law Amendment sparking a spirited debate on the Texas House floor, in which legislators defended Texas homeowners who have been sold defective homes by shoddy builders.
 

The amendment was tabled by a vote of 83 to 60.  However, 60 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans, had voted in support of a Home Lemon Law, the first ever to be considered or debated by any State Legislature in the nation.

As the house was considering a ‘Homebuilder Reform Bill,’ HB 1038, filed by Rep. Allen Ritter, D-Nederland to reform the highly criticized Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC), Rep. Thompson introduced her Lemon Law amendment that would have required builders to buy back houses with defects, which creates a safety hazard or reduce the home's value 5 percent or more if the defect cannot be fixed. 

Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, responded by claiming the amendment would add to the cost of everybody's house. 

With that, Rep. Thompson shot back: "I'm not trying to protect unscrupulous builders.  Are you saying that protecting the safety, health & welfare of a person when a homebuilder builds a house, and he does it in a manner that creates a defect or a safety problem, that it adds to the cost of building a home?”

“Members, if you want to protect unscrupulous builders, you need to vote with Mr. Ritter.  But, if you want to be with the people, who are paying their hard-earned money to make the greatest investment that they are ever going to make in their life, and that’s a home, then you need to vote no on the motion that is on the table,” shouted Rep. Thompson.

In 2003 the building industry lobbied lawmakers for passage of controversial legislation that created the TRCC, which is commonly referred to as a builder protection agency that has no authority to force builders to correct construction defects.

In January 2006, then-Texas State Comptroller Carole Keeton Stryahorn issued a scathing report on TRCC that described it as an “agency that imposes costly and bureaucratic roadblocks for homeowners left out in the cold by shabby construction and a commission dominated by builders.”
 
Rep. Ritter’s bill now moves on to the Senate with a number of amendments that give some enforcement power to TRCC but still makes it mandatory for homeowners to go through an onerous and time-consuming process. While HB 1038 is a step in the right direction, homeowners will not be fully protected until the TRCC is voluntary, free, and effectively enforced.

We are, however, very grateful to Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown, Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio and Rep.Todd Smith, R-Bedford, for successfully adding amendments that provide better TRCC disciplinary actions and enforcement measures, and that better define commissioners’ qualifications to avoid any conflict of interest.

Our special thanks to Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston – although unsuccessful – for trying to make the TRCC process and arbitration voluntary for homeowners rather than mandatory and his objection to the fact that the commission cannot enforce penalties until a builder exhausted his appeals through the courts. "A builder commits fraud (and) the TRCC agrees the builder stole money from a homeowner," Eiland said, "but the commission can't do anything" until the builder exhausts all legal appeals.

“While some of the amendments will certainly improve the agency, there is still a lot of improvement needed to protect homeowners,” said Janet Ahmad , national president of HomeOwners for Better Building

“Homeowners would welcome a process that is optional, free and effectively enforced.  Like any other profession, builders should first be qualified and show proof of financial stability for the protection of Texas home buyers.  Any legislation must give builders an incentive to build a home right the first time or to fix it if they should happen to make a mistake,” concluded Ahmad.                                               

Homeowners from across the state watched the debate from the house gallery as well as the live video stream, eager to see lawmaker’s restrain the unregulated Homebuilding Industry.

Video:
Representative Thompson’s Lemon Law Amendment debate
http://www.house.state.tx.us/media/chamber/80.htm
Click on
04/24/07   1:15 p.m. - 9:06 p.m. Start at 4:36:17 ending at 4:49:42
        Texas State Representative Swinford claimed it would add cost to all homes with a lemon law. 
        Representative Senfronia Thompson responded, “Are you saying that protecting the safety, 
        health & welfare of a person when a homebuilder builds a house, and he does it in a manner
        that creates a defect or a safety problem that it adds to the cost of building a home?
        Members, if you want to protect unscrupulous builders you need to vote with Mr. Ritter.
        But, if you want to be with the people, who are paying their hard earned money to make the
        greatest investment that they are ever going to make in their life, and that’s a home, then you
        need to vote no on the motion that is on the table. 

Representatives that voted in support of the Home Lemon Law Amendment:
Allen, Alonzo, Anderson, Bailey, Bolton, Burnam, Castro, Chavez, Coleman, Y. Davis, Deshotel, Dukes, Dunnam, Dutton, Eiland, England, Escobar, Farias, Flores, Gallego,  Geren, Giddings, Gonzales, Toureilles Gonzalez, Guillen, Hamilton, Hartnett, Hernandez, Herrero, Hill, Hochberg, Hodge, Homer, D. Howard, Leibowitz, Mallory Caraway,  Martinez, Martinez Fischer, McCall, Miles, Naishtat, Noriega, Oliveira, Olivo, Ortiz, Pena, Pickett, Pierson, Puente, Raymond, Rodriguez, T. Smith, Solomons, Thompson, Truitt, Turner, Vaught, Veasey, Villarreal, Vo

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