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Are You Next by Jordan Fogal
Sunday, 06 February 2005

The Many Levels of Texas Bureaucracy 
By Jordan Fogal

The Many Levels of Texas Bureaucracy
by Jordan Fogal

My First Six Months in a Tremont Home
We purchased our Tremont/Stature home April of 2002. The first night in the house my husband took a bath in the garden tub on the third floor. When he got out, 100 gallons of water came through the dining room ceiling and flooded the living room and dining room on the second floor.  While the plumbing was being connected and the ceiling replaced the yard began to flood. Ankle deep water stood and the grass rotted. The kitchen window started leaking; the stucco outside cracked and rust colored water ran out. Then we were hit with a $500 dollar assessment from the newly elected homeowners association because Tremont/Stature had stolen our homeowner’s dues. This is what we got with a $360,000 dollar home?

Living in an ADR State
If you live in Texas, an ADR State you no longer have seventh amendment rights. You are told to go to the TRCC for RCLA and SIRP because we no longer have the DTPA and you will end up in AAA. Now, do you have any idea what I am talking about?   Neither do most Texans. 

·         ADR – Alternative Dispute Resolution... it means you don't get a trial by jury and you cannot sue the builder. 

·         TRCC – Texas Residential Construction Commission… a new state bureaucracy that regulates homebuyers. 

·         RCLA – Residential Construction Liability Act… a state law that regulates homebuyers.  Also known as Requires Considerable Legal Assistance.  

·         SIRP – State Inspection Resolution Process… a mandatory state procedure that requires homeowners pay a fee of $350, $450 or $650 for the SIRP complaint process.  

·         DTPA – Deceptive Trade Practices Act… and act that once protected homebuyers from deceptive business practices, which was nullified by the passage of TRCCA. 

·         AAA – American Arbitration Association… works well among equals in business. 

Believe me; AAA conducts business like a demented collection agency at the request of a builder in Texas.  Beware; it is not a fair playing field.  If you go into their process have a minimum of $50,000 on hand and be prepared to pay $100,000. You have to pay dearly even to file, and in my case the filing fee is $6,000. 

Then you must pay an arbitrator $2000 plus, per day, plus an hourly fee for pre and post study.  AAA does not provide a maximum limit on costs, so they ask for a credit card authorization. The entire burden of proof is on you – the homebuyers. You pay for all expert testimony, depositions, a stenographer, and even the rent on the room to conduct the arbitration.  Of course your attorney’s fees are on top of that.  

The courts uphold binding arbitration, not having a clue as to what is going on behind closed doors. People come out of arbitration broke, bankrupt, and under secrecy agreements. It is not a level playing field. The great, once sovereign state of Texas was bought by the homebuilders for over 9.4 million dollars in campaign contributions. My advice after being in this system for 29 months is, don't buy a new house in the state of Texas.

What I am left with…
We are left with a 30-year mortgage on a house that didn’t last two and a half years. Our house has, buckling hardwood floors, flashing problems, water intrusion in the walls and some ceilings, sagging second and third floors, and a shower wall that is bowed out and has fallen in.  There are Stachybotrus, aspergillum and chaetomium molds that grow on the baseboards, on the trim, up the walls, in the shower and even growing out of the carpet…  We now live in an apartment.  

Jordan Fogal - This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


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