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House Bill 2008, authored by Representative Todd Smith (R-Bedford), would greatly assist homeowners by enacting critical and necessary reforms to the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC), according to consumer groups.
“In the four years that the TRCC has been operating, it has often been a hindrance rather than a help to Texas homeowners,” said Jeff Brooks, advocate for the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG). “House Bill 2008 would go a long way towards transforming the TRCC into an agency which can best serve the needs of ordinary Texas citizens.”
A major complaint against the TRCC is that homeowners are required to go through its inspection and dispute resolution process before they can pursue legal action against an unscrupulous or incompetent builder. The process can take several months and homeowners are required to pay a fee before it begins. House Bill 2008 would change the law so as to make the process voluntary rather than mandatory.
“The bottom line is that homeowners deserve to have any construction defect repaired by their builder,” said Alex Winslow, Executive Director of Texas Watch. “House Bill 2008 gives homeowners greater flexibility in how they choose to hold their builder accountable and gives the TRCC more tools to deal with bad builders.”
In addition, House Bill 2008 would strengthen conflict-of-interest provisions, so as to ensure that persons with direct ties to the building industry not be allowed to serve as public representatives on the TRCC’s board (under its charter, four members of the board are builders and three are public representatives). The bill would also give the agency greater authority to go after corrupt builders and hold them accountable for their actions; lack of such authority has been another major flaw in the TRCC’s charter cited by consumer advocates.
“House Bill 2008 will greatly benefit Texas homeowners by increasing their protections against incompetent or unscrupulous builders,” Brooks added. “We urge the legislature to make passage of this bill a top priority.”
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