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HomeOwners for Better Building - Texas Regulates Homebuyers - As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
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Texas Regulates Homebuyers - As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
Thursday, 17 May 2007

Buyers are Regulated
It all started in Texas
Nowhere But Texas Are Homebuyers So Regulated!

Let the Sun Set on the Texas Residential Construction Commission

The Great Molly Ivins on the Weekley Boys Special Interest Tort Reform (1995)
Big business proponents contrive some of the worst bills of the 74th session. "Reform" (actually deform) of the Consumer Protection Act/Deceptive Trade Practices Act gives additional license to the worst kinds of businesses that operate in Texas. It's back to "buyer beware." If you get ripped off or even severely damaged by some sleazy business, don't bother trying to get your money back--much less any other compensation...Consider the case of Richard Weekley, a big-time real estate developer who owns shopping malls and--along with his brother--a big housing company. Weekley appeared in Austin as president of Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the folks who were going to "reform" our tort system, Governor George Dubya's pet project.

The Texas Residential Construction Commission  (TRCC)
The Building Industry created TRCC as "THE HAMMER" that regulates homebuyers

Homebuyers deserve better protection
Beware: No Consumer Protection for Texas Homebuyers
If you think the government protects buyers when purchasing the biggest investment most of us will ever make, think again. In early 2003 the building industry contrived convincing tales of woe, along with millions in political action committee contributions, that persuaded some Texas lawmakers to help create the unprecedented experimental state agency. Elected officials not only complied but relied on the wisdom of the industry to write the bill and trusted them to run the agency that mandates homebuyers to pay a fee to complain about their builder, while allowing shoddy construction standards to be written by the industry. 
TRCC Controversy and Scandal Continues
Comptroller Carole Strayhorn says she'd do it again
Strayhorn and Attorney General Abbott lock horns over the failure of TRCC to resolve homeowner's complaint... More: David Van Os - AG Abbott takes care of his buddiesPerry gave Abbott $50,000 in one payment on December 15, 2005 alone – when Perry would have to have known that the Comptroller’s investigation was underway.  (Rep. Swinford requested Abbott’s opinion on December 16.)

Rick Casey - Builder Contributions to AG Abbott, Tough Grandma & TRCC
Houston Chronicle's Rick Casey - Proposal: A $1 million recusal rule
Take the case of Attorney General Greg Abbott. Last Dec. 15 he received $100,000 in campaign contributions from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry and his wife... Perry and his allies in the homebuilding industry worked hard to obtain the commission as a partial shield against lawsuits... Still, it hardly inspires confidence for the attorney general to accept a hundred grand from an interested party on the eve of entertaining a request to rule on an issue of considerable interest to that party. In addition, five days after sending his request to Abbott, Swinford received his first contribution from Perry, for $2,000. Six weeks later he would receive another $10,000... But the notion that the attorney general can take $100,000 from someone with a direct interest in his ruling is outrageous.  And it's actually worse. Since 2001, Abbott has received $1.1 million from Mr. and Mrs. Perry... Read more... 

TRCC Adopted Standards
Flagrant examples of standards that protect the building industry and promote substandard building practices

"TRCC is the punishment phase of homeownership"
           (HOBB's Full Report and Recomendations for Change)
Texas Residential Construction Commission (
TRCC) Report Card
Comptroller gives Builder-Protection Agency Failing Grades

A history of Texas Tort Reform 
Texas Observer, November 2005 Issue -
Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad!       
Homebuilding Industry Runs New Texas State Agency
The Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) selectively accepts complaints against builders but can not enforce decisions
 Texas Builders can build homes that do not comply with minimum building codes, misappropriate money, abandon construction, and can build defective multimillion dollar condominiums with no fear of state action.

The Residential Construction Liability Act and the New Residential Construction Commission (Builder Right-to-Repair)
An in-depth look at the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act and amendments to the Residential Construction Liability Act. Presented by: Cheryl C. Turner ... The laudatory words of the RCLA’s proponents belie their intent to create blatant special interest legislation that would protect good and bad builders alikePDF/Adobe Acrobat

"Builder's Right-to-Repair" Law
 Building Industry Tort Reform Ideology is an effective plan to limit homebuilders responsibility for defective homes that is spreading across the country.  Beware it's coming to your state!  
                        Construction Defect Reform Statute Matrix
                    Notice and Opportunity to Repair Laws 
                                (Builder's Right-to-Repair Law)
Read: State Law Requirements 
Homeowners must qualify and pay a fee to file a formal complaint against their builder
Only 1 out of every 4 homeowners can ask State Agency for assistance
The TRCC is a $3 Million state agency that serves the  industry and selectively serves a very small portion of the home buying public stuck with bad homes or even fraud. TRCC received 502 complaints from homeowners in a 15-month period but, only 206 filed for the dispute resolution process and only 137 were even eligible. 

Worse yet, after the state inspection process the agency has no athority to enforce the conclusions or help victims get their homes repaired. 

Results: Records show that in a 15 month period 365 homeowners complaining about their builder could not turrn to the state agency (TRCC) if they wanted to.

A survey was done of approximately 1/3 of the families who went through the SIRP process.  Of the 63 families who completed the process, 22 were contacted.  Only 2 felt like the process worked but had to hire an attorney and were going to arbitration.  The other 20 had not resolved their issues, were very unhappy or angry because they were told to hire an attorney and file suit or go to arbitration.  Most felt they were misled by the TRCC process. 
Excluded – TRCC Non-jurisdictional Complaints
 Builders can committ the following offences:

1.  Builders failure to comply with IRC building codes in the county
2.  Misappropriation of Funds
3.  Builder Abandonment of Construction 
4.  Construction Not Complete
5.  Development Issues
6.  Contract Issues
7.  Deposit/Escrow money issues
8.  Judgments
9.  Monetary Reimbursement Issues
10. Pre - 9/1/03 Issues 
11. Project Type Non-jurisdictional Issues 
12. Condominium Owners
13. Townhome Owners
14. Interior Home Improvements less than $20,000
15. Home Improvements to the exterior of a home
16. Real Estate Transaction Issue
17. False & Misleading Advertisement

Big Money and Shoddy Construction:
Texas Home Buyers Left Out in the Cold

Joint Press Conference held by Campaigns for People
and HomeOwners for Better Building

January 24, 2005
Read Press Release Report: Big Money and Shoddy Construction

Press Coverage: 
Star-Telegram: Watchdogs: Donor cash tilts state laws 
Dallas Morning News SPECIAL REPORT:
Home buyers wary of agency
Some consumer groups, others say TRCC doesn't aid consumers enough

Associated Press:  
Highlights Monday from the Texas Legislature
Carlos Guerra: In Austin , Just Who Is Watching Out For Texas Homeowners?
San Antonio Express-News: Homebuilders' campaign donations rapped
Austin Statesman: Activists target homebuilders
Houston Chronicle: Groups Deplore Builders' Influence
Read More about TRCC 

Texas Monthly - Home Buyer Beware
Texas Observer - The Agency that Bob Perry Built
Waco Tribune-Herald - Editorial: Money trail
Texas Monthly - Same Pig. Uglier Lipstick
Texas Observer - Texas Government's Potemkin Village
- - - - - - - -
Learn More: See how the Texas Home Building Industry shaped the Texas
Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) and regulates new homebuyers

A contractors view of homebuyers troubles in Texas
All of this is coming about in Texas because we don't license builders. (For that mater I don't think we do a good job of enforcing the trades that are licensed.) So some builders wrote contracts that meant the HO had virtually no rights in problem disputes. Some others are like my two neighbors who hired a builder for two different remodels. In both cases the builder took the money, left the job half finished, didn't pay the subcontractors, and left the HO to finish the job and pay the subs. Yes, they paid TWICE for a half finished job. When they tried to sue they found out it was cheaper to pay everyone, finish the job and not bother to sue. ($25k retainer for the lawyer or $15k to finish the job). The builder was still in business and still screwing people the last time I heard about him. The new Texas law should at least make it harder for builders like that.


 Texas, First Home Lemon Law Debated in the Nation
Homebuyers Need a Home Lemon Law

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