Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Response to Security for Your Lawsuit

I received the following interesting response to my last post. I am not endorsing this organization, but they may provide useful information for homeowners:

Many of the homeowners who contact us with builder complaints tell us that collecting is difficult. They have trouble finding good lawyers because of this. Homeowners are often prevented from suing because due to arbitration clauses. Of those that get arbitration or court awards, many have trouble collecting it. Arbitration has shown itself to have great potential for bias and abuse, and since it’s a private record, it hides complaints from the public when home buyers try to research builders before buying. Licensing agencies, (in the approximately half of the states that license builders at all), often protect builders more than consumers. Building codes aren’t being consistently enforced either. Many of the homes we hear complaints about have code violations, including serious ones that affect safety. The consumer is told by every state agency, code dept, etc, that they call, “It’s a civil matter! Get a lawyer!” That doesn’t do much good if they can’t collect.

Despite this reality, the homebuilding industry has pushed for its own brand of tort reform based on the unsupported claim that homeowners frivolously sue builders for millions, over “cosmetic imperfections.” Out the other side of the industry’s mouth, they claim each complaint is an “isolated incident!” I don’t see how it can be both ways! The tort reform is “Right to Repair” law, also known as Notice of Opportunity to Repair, and other names. It has passed in about 30 states now despite vetoes and opposition. Many times all the public knows about these laws is the building industry propaganda touting it as consumer protection. Naturally, a law created by builders will favor builders.

Everyone operating HADD is a volunteer who does, or did, have a problem with a builder. We’ve seen homeowners lose everything due to shoddy construction, breach of warranty, non-enforcement of laws and codes, predatory lending by builders’ in-house mortgage co’s, and outright fraud.

Thanks again for your article.

Sincerely,

Cindy Schnackel
National Secretary, Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings http://www.hadd.com
HADD Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/322833272?ltl=1110494716

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