Thursday, April 30, 2009


Help (the)
Environment (or)

The mission statement of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM), can be found on their website

The DHEC Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management protects and enhances the State's coastal resources by preserving sensitive and fragile areas while promoting responsible development in the eight coastal counties of South Carolina.

OCRM Program Goals and Objectives:

* Implement the Coastal Zone Management Plan to manage wetland alterations, stormwater and land disturbance activities, certify all federal and state permits and direct federal actions and all alterations of tidally influenced critical area lands, waters and beaches.
* Preserve sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources through regulatory oversight and guidance.
* Provide technical expertise to resolve complex coastal management issues.
* Encourage low impact and alternative development to preserve water quality and environmental integrity.

OCRM offices are located in Charleston, Beaufort and Myrtle Beach.

For more than three years residents of Sun City Hilton Head, SC have been trying to get shoddily-constructed stormwater management ponds fixed. One would think that the agency responsible for protecting the environment would be helpful in this effort. Not so.

How long will it take to get SCHH’s stormwater management ponds fixed completely and correctly? With DHEC on the case, maybe never.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

another email to DHEC (or how things are done in SC)

ings are done in SC).
DHEC sure DOESN’T require a LOT:

• DHEC doesn’t require that pipes connecting ponds be clear, even though clear connecting pipes are vital to the operation of the system.
• DHEC doesn’t require action plans that address ALL deficiencies. Why require as-builts if you’re going to let Pulte ignore 11 of the 20 ponds that have bottoms that are higher than what they’re supposed to be?
• DHEC doesn’t require that soil in embankments be compacted. Do you really think that Pulte removed all of the fill that they dumped at pond 164, just so they could remove it, put it back in 12-inch lifts, and compact it like it’s supposed to be? Every other state that I worked in requires that soil in embankments be placed in lifts and fully compacted.
• DHEC doesn’t require that embankments be clear of trees, even though ANY engineer knows that a tree in an embankment is NOT consistent with the normal standard of care for engineered embankments. I know of NO other state that allows trees in embankments.
• DHEC doesn’t require that the type of material specified in the approved construction plans for outfall structures (precast concrete) be used.
• DHEC doesn’t require fences around ponds with steep slopes even though they’re a danger. All other jurisdictions that I know of require fences around ponds with steep slopes.
• DHEC doesn’t require embankments. Building a half of a pond is OK in SC.
• DHEC doesn’t require that ponds be a minimum depth, even though depth is critical to their operation, and, as SCHH proves, shallow ponds are unsightly, and maintenance headaches.

I’m sure that there are MANY other things that I HAVEN’T listed that DHEC doesn’t require. Meanwhile, developers like Pulte get away with building crap for the people in the communities that live there to deal with. Never mind the effect that their shoddy construction has on the environment and the rest of those who live outside their shoddy communities.and the rest of those who live outside their shoddy communities.


Monday, April 27, 2009

an email to DHEC

Under “Construction Monitoring”, Pulte’s March 10, 2009 Lagoon Action Plan states in part:

· Thomas and Hutton Engineering will have an engineer onsite everyday during construction
· Thomas and Hutton will verify all construction methods used

Photographs of the reconstruction of Lagoon 164, taken on April 7 and sent to DHEC on April 15, show uncompacted embankment fill and sloughing and eroding slopes. Photographs taken April 24 (following) show a tree well in the embankment. As you know, tree roots can push through even compacted embankments and cause embankment failure. When the tree matures and dies, the roots decay and leave pathways for water to flow through the embankment (piping).

Needless to say, future maintenance of these lagoons, which is the responsibility of the community, is greatly impacted by methods used in their reconstruction. Poor reconstruction methods and poor monitoring will increase the community’s future maintenance expenses.

We are concerned with the reconstruction methods and monitoring at Lagoon 164 (and at other lagoons that will be reconstructed). Our concerns include:

· Embankment soil compaction
· Slope stabilization
· Steep slopes, including safety concerns for slopes steeper than 4:1
· Trees in embankments

Trees and root systems need to be removed from embankments. Erodible slopes need to be stabilized. Safety needs to be addressed for slopes steeper than 4:1. Soil in embankments needs to be compacted.

With the reconstruction of the Phase 5 lagoons underway, and given our concerns with reconstruction monitoring and reconstruction methods being used, we believe that “time is of the essence”. On April 15 we specifically requested a meeting in which we can both provide and request information regarding the status of the reconstruction of Phase 5 SWM ponds at Sun City Hilton Head. We again specifically request a meeting with you and your staff soon, so that we can discuss these and other issues regarding the reconstruction of Phase 5 lagoons.

Please contact me via email, or at the phone numbers listed below, to arrange a time when we can meet with you and your staff at your office in Beaufort.

Thank you.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's election time at SCHH

the SCHH community association is holding election for TWO resident seats on the Board of Directors. Let's review the facts:

1. there are TWO choices in the election: incumbent 1 and incumbent 2. One must ask: "why vote?"

2. Pulte employees (who aren't subject to election) hold 4 of the 7 seats. One must ask: "why vote?"

3. Even if Pulte employees didn't hold the majority of seats, they have absolute veto power over everything. One must ask: "why vote?"

4. Last year the Pulte-controlled board of directors forced the resignation of the new duly-elected resident member of the board of directors, because he wouldn't swear allegiance to Pulte. One must ask: "why vote?"

5. At the same board meeting, the Pulte-controlled board fired, or forced the resignation, of FOUR chairmen of board-appointed committees, because they had the AUDACITY to propose a study to look into incorporating Sun City Hilton Head. One must ask: "why vote?"

Yet there are people here who will vote for incumbent 1 and incumbent 2.


I thought that elections were supposed to be about choices?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009



Re: Who's running for the board?
« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2009, 01:30:18 AM »


"They've got this community completely mesmerized, they have made good BUSINESS decisions that were BAD for the community and the community went right along with it."

my response:

Therein lies the problem--self hypnosis. Repeat the mantra after me: "I'm retired. I don't get involved. I'm retired. I don't get involved. I'm retired. I don't get involved. ... " Meanwhile, while most are in a self-inflicted hypnotic trance, Pulte is doing their thing to ALL of us.

In the mid-1770s Thomas Heyward (yes, the one who one lived right up the road, and who one of our major thoroughfares is named after) put it ALL on the line to fight tyranny. He could have said “I’m not going to get involved. I’m just going to continue to live ‘the good life’”. Thank God that he didn’t. I wonder what TH and his cohorts would think of what’s happening today right down the road from where he lived?

Thomas Jefferson said:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
Declaration of Independence as originally written by Thomas Jefferson, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315

Our rights as Americans include the right of free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to a jury trial, among others.

How do we honor the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Heyward, and others who made great sacrifices to defend our American freedoms? By EXERCISING them.

Our church is having a concert to honor veterans. They asked parishioners to send in their photographs in uniform. We were babies. So are most of the soldiers at Parris Island and Fort Stewart, and the rest of those defending our freedoms around the world. But, isn’t that the way that it is? Thomas Heyward was only 30 when he put EVERYTHING on the line by signing the Declaration of Independence.

I exercise my right NOT to vote in an election for representatives to a community association that is a sham. I exercise my right to speak out against tyranny.


PS Doug, I'm not convinced of the "good BUSINESS decisions" part, but I'm not going to argue the point. Like voting in an election in a system where Pulte holds all the cards, I've got better things to DO. Ray

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why not?

home purchase "lemon" laws?

eliminating binding arbitration clauses in sales contracts?

better building code enforcement?


Sunday, April 19, 2009

emails to my US Congress representatives

South Carolina

Joe Wilson, US House of Representatives
Linsay Graham, US Senate
Jim DeMint, US Senate

I am very concerned about the lack of accountability for companies who harm employees and consumers.

I’ve learned that one of the devices being used by companies to avoid accountability is a forced arbitration – a mandatory binding arbitration clause that is often buried in the fine print of terms of agreement and contracts. Forced arbitration requires both sides to submit any future disputes to binding arbitration as a condition of having a job or buying a product or service. I am troubled that even if you refuse to sign a contract but show up for work or use a product or service, you can lose the option of going to court. People who have been harmed by discrimination, negligence, defective products or scams should always have the right to a judge and jury.

Forced arbitration is being written into more and more contracts and terms of agreement every day, including those for employment, insurance, home-building, car loans and leases, credit cards, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and nursing facilities, to name a few.

Thankfully, there is already legislation moving through Congress to put an end to forced arbitration. The Arbitration Fairness Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Hank Johnson and several cosponsors (H.R. 1020) and soon to be introduced by Sen. Feingold in the Senate, would make mandatory binding arbitration unenforceable in civil rights, employment, consumer, and franchise disputes, but would not eliminate voluntary arbitration agreed to after a dispute arises.

I strongly support this legislation to end the practice of forcing employees and consumers to sign away their rights to legal protections. This practice undermines several important laws which were enacted to protect consumers and employees. We need companies to stop avoiding responsibility for their actions.

I urge you to cosponsor and work to enact the Arbitration Fairness Act to protect the rights of employees and consumers. Thank you for listening to a constituent, and I look forward to your reply.

Ray Koenig
Bluffton, SC 29909

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Home Building Arbitration


"Forced arbitration has been devastating to thousands of families across the United States. Arbitration appears in two possible places for an unwary home buyer: 1) The builder's contract; and/or 2) A home warranty policy from a third-party company such as 2-10 HBW or RWC. Warranties are marketed as insurance and are usually presented after closing when the homeowner would have no opportunity to say “No thanks” to the binding mandatory arbitration clause. In fact, this document is deceitful in that it is titled as a "Warranty." The word "Warranty" is illusory due to exclusions in the warranty. The purpose of this document is to protect the builders from liability while forcing the homeowners into giving up their 7th Amendment rights to use our civil justice system.

Forced arbitration serves another purpose for these industries: it hides complaints! When disputes go to a private dispute resolution process, there is no public record, and other consumers cannot find out about the complaint about the builder -- or the outcome of the arbitration. Gag orders can prevent home owners from even talking about their case. A homeowner often goes into arbitration thinking they will win because their evidence supports their case, but arbitration works in favor of the industry. Why? Arbitrators and industry players do repeat business with each other. They do not do repeat business with consumers.

In most cases the builder is a member of a Risk Retention Group (RRG). States' insurance departments have little, if any, authority over this organization. RRG's--captive insurance—is a type of self-insurance owned by the industry it 'insures." So these groups actually protect builders and warranty companies, not so much homeowners. The RRG owns the warranty company. The builders' liability insurance is bundled within the "warranties" purchased for the homeowner. The warranty is based on minimal standards of workmanship that most any builder can attain. In other words,the homeowner hardly ever has a covered claim unless the home is actually falling down. Industry fed arbitration companies seal the deal. The homeowner has little recourse. They are stuck with homes they cannot afford to repair, cannot sell and are often forced into foreclosure."

Friday, April 17, 2009

a message from HADD

an message from

Please support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009. I will be attending the press conference in Washington, DC on April 29, announcing the introduction of this legislation. Nearly every home buyer today will have a forced arbitration clause in their purchase contract, and/or, their third party warranty. HADD is a member of the Give Me Back My Rights coalition.

Recently, I've been learning about a dangerous way for employers and companies to avoid being accountable to employees and consumers. I'm talking about forced arbitration - a practice which traps employees and consumers into waiving their rights to sue, participate in a class-action lawsuit, or to appeal an unfair resolution to a conflict.

Forced arbitration clauses are buried into the fine print of contracts and terms of agreements for employment, insurance, home-building, car loans and leases, credit cards, nursing facilities, and more - clauses that people like you and I are agreeing to every day!

Thankfully, there is already legislation moving through Congress to put an end to forced arbitration. The Arbitration Fairness Act would disallow employers and companies from using forced arbitration in civil rights, employment, consumer, or franchise disputes.

Join me in asking members of Congress to support the Arbitration Fairness Act, which will end the practice of forcing employees and consumers to sign away their rights to legal protections and access to courts.

Sign our petition today:


Because Builders Owe a Duty Beyond Cashing Your Checks

Request for a Congressional hearing concerning accountability of the home buil

Nancy Seats, President
Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings INC. (HADD INC)
Member: National Alliance Against Construction Defects
A National Not for Profit Organization

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

"The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be sacred or liberty cannot exist." John Adams

Thursday, April 16, 2009

a foot short

Pulte = a day late + a foot short


Monday, April 13, 2009

dishonesty, greed, recklessness & arrogance


Our economy is built on a house of cards (excuse the pun) of dishonesty, greed, recklessness, and arrogance (e.g., CEO salaries and union demands for pay without work). Modern day crooks from Enron, MCI, AIG, Freddie Mac, and MANY, MANY others drove our economy into the toilet.

President Obama is right—we need change; but, not the kind that puts money into the pockets of crooks. We need to get honesty, integrity, and responsibility back into our economy. If that had been the case in the first place, then the bailouts wouldn’t be needed.

The housing industry has more than its share of crooks building shoddy houses with help from government (similar to the way that AIG, Freddie Mac, and the other crooks got government help). Part of cleaning up the housing industry, a major component to our economy, is cleaning up the shoddy builders AND their coconspirators, e.g., crooked and/or incompetent contractors, corrupt mortgage lenders, less-than-truthful realtors, government (as the story from the link above states), and US. We’re a BIG part of the problem, too, because we ALLOW it to happen by not DEMANDING change. We should DEMAND that government protect consumers by enforcing building codes and passing consumer-friendly laws that would, among other things, eliminate binding arbitration and restore our right to sue builders and government for shoddy construction. There are “lemon laws” for new cars in all 50 states, but, to the best of my knowledge, not a single state has a “new house lemon law”. And, there never will be unless WE DEMAND IT. Both figuratively and literally, you can’t build a good house on a faulty foundation.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pulte, masterbuilder


The “reconstruction” of lagoon 164 may provide clues as to why many of the Phase 5 lagoons have bottoms that are too high.

1. Rebuilt slopes are sloughing—sliding into the bottom. When soil is used as a construction material, such as in dams or under roads and houses, it must be compacted in lifts.

2. The silt buildup at the silt fence indicates highly erodible soils. This buildup came from a relatively short slope during a short period of time. Without the silt fence, this silt would be in the bottom of the lagoon.

3. With steep, uncompacted slopes and uncompacted embankment (in lifts), it can be expected that the bottom of lagoon 164 will quickly fill with silt.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

home "lemon law" bill introduced into Texas House


See tabs for “history”, “text”, “actions”, “authors”, “captions”, and “bill stages”.

here's the text of the bill:

81R10162 AJA-F

By: Thompson H.B. No. 3182

relating to consumer protection for and remedies available to a homebuyer whose home does not comply with certain warranties; providing an administrative penalty.
SECTION 1. Title 4, Property Code, is amended by adding Chapter 30 to read as follows:
Sec. 30.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Texas Homebuyer Protection Act.
Sec. 30.002. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) "Administrator" means the administrator of the Texas Real Estate Commission.
(2) "Commission" means the Texas Real Estate Commission.
(3) "Contractor" means a person who, for compensation, engages in the construction, remodeling, repair, modification, or improvement of a building or a portion of a building used primarily for residential purposes.
(4) "Defect" means a condition that prevents a home from conforming to a contractor's warranty, including a warranty described by Section 30.008(c) or any other warranty provided by law.
(5) "Home" means a single-family house, duplex, triplex, or quadruplex or a unit in a multiunit structure used for residential purposes that is used or intended to be used as a dwelling by one of the owners.
(6) "Homebuyer" means a person who:
(A) purchased a home from a contractor and is entitled to enforce the terms of a contractor's warranty with respect to the home;
(B) is a lessor or lessee, other than a sublessee, who purchased or leased the home from a contractor; or
(C) is a transferee or assignee of a person described by Paragraph (A) or (B) if the transferee or assignee is a resident of this state and entitled to enforce the terms of a contractor's warranty.
(7) "Serious safety hazard" means a life-threatening malfunction, installation defect, or nonconformity that substantially impedes a person's ability to live in or use a home or that creates a substantial risk of fire, explosion, or exposure to a toxic substance.
(8) "Warranty" means an express or implied warranty.
Sec. 30.003. APPLICABILITY OF CERTAIN OTHER LAW OR CONTRACT PROVISIONS. (a) This chapter supersedes any other law or contract provision that conflicts with this chapter.
(b) The remedies provided by this chapter supersede remedies available under Chapter 27 or Title 16.
(c) Except as provided by this section, this chapter does not limit the rights or remedies otherwise available to a homebuyer under any other law.
(d) A contract provision that excludes or modifies the remedies provided by this chapter is prohibited and is void as against public policy unless the exclusion or modification is included in a settlement agreement between a homebuyer and a contractor.

Sec. 30.004. COMPLAINT. A homebuyer may seek a remedy provided by this chapter by:
(1) providing to the contractor written notice identifying each defect in the home that is covered by the contractor's warranty; and
(2) filing a complaint with the commission that includes a copy of the notice provided under Subdivision (1) on or before the 30th day after the date the notice is provided.
Sec. 30.005. HEARING. (a) The administrator may set a hearing on any allegation in a complaint that is not privately resolved between the homebuyer and the contractor.
(b) The contested case provisions of Chapter 2001, Government Code, apply to a hearing conducted under this chapter.
Sec. 30.006. TIME FOR FILING COMPLAINT. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a homebuyer must file a complaint under this chapter before the earlier of:
(1) the date the express warranty period expires; or
(2) the 10th anniversary of the closing date.
(b) A homebuyer may file a complaint to which Section 30.010 applies on or before the 10th anniversary of the closing date.
Sec. 30.007. AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE. In a hearing before the administrator under this chapter, a contractor may assert as an affirmative defense to an allegation of a defect made in a complaint filed under this chapter that the defect is the result of abuse, neglect, or modifications or alterations of the home made by a person other than the contractor.
Sec. 30.008. REPAIR REQUIRED. (a) Except as provided by Section 30.010, if a defect exists, the contractor shall make the repairs necessary to conform the home to the contractor's warranties if:
(1) the homebuyer or the homebuyer's designated agent reported the defect to the contractor or the contractor's agent before the expiration of the applicable time limit under Section 30.006; or
(2) a breach of a warranty described by Subsection (c) on the home is established.
(b) The contractor must make the repairs required under Subsection (a) not later than the 120th day after the date the notice of the defect required by Section 30.004 is received by the commission.
(c) Notwithstanding any other law, there is a presumption that a breach of a warranty on a home exists if the home does not comply with:
(1) a building code applicable to the home;

(2) the version applicable in the jurisdiction in which the home is constructed of:
(A) the International Building Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings;
(B) the National Electric Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings; or
(C) the manufacturer's specific installation instructions for the part or component used in construction of the home; or

(3) structural engineering standards or practices intended to prevent structural damage or a decrease in the market value of the home resulting from the failure of the foundation or other load-bearing portions of the home, including standards or practices used to ensure that a foundation is structurally sufficient without artificial moisture controls or other extraordinary maintenance by the homeowner.

Sec. 30.009. RETURN OR REPLACEMENT REQUIRED. (a) Except as provided by Section 30.010, if the contractor is unable to cure a defect within the period prescribed by Section 30.008(b) and the defect creates a serious safety hazard, substantially impairs the use of the home, or decreases the home's market value by more than five percent, the contractor shall at the homebuyer's option:
(1) replace the home with a comparable home in the same neighborhood; or
(2) accept return of the home from the homebuyer and refund to the homebuyer the full purchase price and any closing costs and reasonable moving costs.
(b) The administrator may not order a remedy under this section unless the contractor has been provided at least the number of days prescribed by Section 30.008(b) to cure the defect that is subject to the remedy provided by this section. The period required by this subsection is extended by the amount of time during which repair services are not available to a homebuyer because of a war, invasion, strike, or fire, flood, or other natural disaster.
Sec. 30.010. MOLD CONTAMINATION. (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date of the administrator's order of a remedy under this section, the contractor shall accept return of the home from the homebuyer and refund to the homebuyer the full purchase price and any closing costs and moving costs if, in addition to a notice of a defect required by Section 30.004, a homebuyer:
(1) provides to the contractor and the commission written results of tests that:
(A) are conducted by a mold testing laboratory certified for the purposes of this section; and
(B) demonstrate proof of unacceptable levels of toxic mold contamination that pose an imminent threat to the health, safety, or welfare of the inhabitants; and
(2) establishes that the contamination arises out of the defect.
(b) The commission by rule shall designate at least one private organization that certifies mold testing laboratories from whom certification is sufficient for the purposes of this section.
Sec. 30.011. REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES. (a) If a contractor is ordered to replace a home or refund the purchase price under Section 30.009 or 30.010, the contractor shall reimburse the homebuyer for:
(1) reasonable incidental costs resulting from the loss of the use of the home because of the defect; and
(2) lost wages resulting from time required for appointments with the contractor or the contractor's representative that are necessary because of the defect.
(b) As necessary to promote the public interest, the commission by rule:
(1) shall define the incidental costs that are eligible for reimbursement under Subsection (a) and specify other requirements necessary to determine an eligible cost; and
(2) may set a maximum amount that is eligible for reimbursement, either by type of eligible cost or by a total for all costs.
(c) Refunds shall be made to the homebuyer and primary lienholder, as applicable.
Sec. 30.012. OTHER REMEDIES NOT PRECLUDED. This chapter does not prevent a homebuyer from obtaining a remedy available to the homebuyer under a new home warranty that provides remedies in addition to those provided by this chapter.
Sec. 30.013. RIGHT TO FILE ACTION. (a) Except as provided by this section, a homebuyer may not seek the remedies provided by this chapter in a civil action unless the homebuyer files a complaint against the contractor under this chapter and exhausts the administrative proceedings provided by this chapter. A court shall dismiss an action filed in violation of this section.
(b) If the hearing examiner does not issue a proposal for decision and make a recommendation to the administrator for a final order on or before the 150th day after the date a complaint is filed under this chapter, the administrator shall provide written notice, by certified mail, to the complainant and the contractor.
(c) The notice must inform the recipient of:
(1) the date the period for issuing a final order under this chapter expires; and
(2) the complainant's right to file an action under this section.
(d) After receiving a notice of the right to file an action under Subsection (b), a complainant may file an action against a contractor named in the complaint. The administrator's failure to issue a notice of the right to file an action does not affect a complainant's right to bring an action under this section.
Sec. 30.014. JUDICIAL REVIEW. A final order of the administrator under this chapter:
(1) is the final action of the commission under this chapter; and
(2) is subject to review only by judicial review as provided by Chapter 2001, Government Code, to the extent that chapter is not inconsistent with this chapter.
Sec. 30.015. INITIATION OR REMOVAL OF ACTION. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, an appeal initiated under this chapter may be removed to the Third Court of Appeals District if any party to the action files a notice of removal with the district court before the trial in the district court begins.
(b) An appeal initiated in or removed to the Third Court of Appeals District:
(1) must be initiated under Chapter 2001, Government Code, as if initiated in a Travis County district court; and
(2) is governed from the time of filing by the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.
(c) If evidence outside the commission's record is to be admitted in an appeal under Chapter 2001, Government Code, or otherwise, the action:
(1) must be initiated in a Travis County district court; or
(2) if initiated in the Third Court of Appeals District, is subject to remand to a Travis County district court for proceedings in accordance with instructions from the court of appeals.
(d) Citation must be served on the administrator and each party of record before the commission. For an appeal initiated in the Third Court of Appeals District, the court shall cause citation to be issued.
Sec. 30.016. DILIGENCE REQUIRED. (a) An appellant must pursue an appeal with reasonable diligence. If an appellant fails to prosecute an appeal in the six-month period after the appeal is filed, the court shall presume that the appeal has been abandoned and dismiss the appeal if a motion for dismissal is submitted by the attorney general or another party.
(b) An appeal may not be dismissed under this section if the appellant, after receiving notice and an opportunity to be heard, demonstrates good cause for a delay.
Sec. 30.017. DISCLOSURE REQUIRED. (a) A contractor that is ordered to refund the purchase price of or replace a home under this chapter shall provide to the first retail purchaser of the home after the home was repurchased or replaced by the contractor a disclosure statement stating that the home was repurchased or replaced by the contractor under this chapter.
(b) The disclosure statement must include the toll-free telephone number established by the commission under Section 30.019.
(c) Before a home repurchased or replaced under this chapter may be sold again, the deed that transfers title to the home must be marked with a clear statement that indicates that the home was repurchased or replaced under this chapter.
Sec. 30.018. RESTORATION OF WARRANTY REQUIRED. A contractor who sells a home after repurchasing or replacing the home under this chapter must:
(1) restore the home in a manner that conforms with applicable building codes; and
(2) issue an express warranty for the home.
Sec. 30.019. TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER. The commission shall establish a toll-free telephone number for providing information to persons who request information about a defect that was the basis for ordering a remedy under this chapter. The commission shall maintain an effective method of providing information to persons who make requests.
Sec. 30.020. ANNUAL REPORT. (a) The commission shall publish and make available to the public an annual report relating to homes ordered repurchased or replaced by a contractor under this chapter.
(b) The report must:
(1) list the number of homes by subdivision name, if any;
(2) identify the contractor; and
(3) include a brief description of each defect that was the subject of a remedy provided by this chapter.
(c) The commission may charge a reasonable fee to recover the cost of the report.
Sec. 30.021. ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY. (a) The commission may impose an administrative penalty on a person who violates this chapter or a rule or order adopted under this chapter.
(b) The imposition of a penalty is governed by Subchapter O, Chapter 1101, Occupations Code.
Sec. 30.022. RULES. The commission, in consultation with the Texas Real Estate Inspector Committee, shall adopt rules necessary for the enforcement and administration of this chapter.
SECTION 2. (a) This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
(b) This Act applies only to the sale of a new home for which the closing date is on or after September 1, 2009. A sale of a new home for which the closing date was before September 1, 2009, is governed by the law in effect at the time of the sale, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a letter to my state representatives

Dear Senator Davis and Representative Herbkersman,

This letter concerns consumer protection laws in South Carolina.

Here at Sun City Hilton Head there have been several widespread instances of shoddy construction. These include:
* roof truss connections
* stucco
* failed retaining wall
* stormwater lagoons
* leaking roofs
These instances are described in detail at

The builder here, Pulte Homes, has a binding arbitration clause in their sales contracts, which in itself is unfriendly to consumers. Taking the shoddy stucco as a case in point, several hundred homeowners here have retained The Chakeris Law Firm in Charleston to represent them in their defective stucco claims. The first claim, the Oros case, has been decided fully in the favor of the plaintiffs (

Chakeris’ website, that is devoted to the stucco claims (, states that, according to South Carolina law, those wishing to take action against the builder must do so within three years, or their right to take legal action expires. This is consumer unfriendly. As you know, latent construction defects can take years to surface.

The Nevada Supreme Court recently ruled that even owners of re-sales have the right to sue builders for shoddy construction defects ( This is consumer friendly.

Is South Carolina a consumer-friendly state, or is South Carolina a consumer-unfriendly state? Do South Carolina laws favor builders, or do they provide “an equal playing field” where consumers have a “fair footing” with builders in getting their grievances resolved? Will the South Carolina legislature pass laws to bring South Carolina “in line” with other more consumer-friendly states?

I will appreciate your attention to this matter, and your response to this letter. I am available to meet with you at your convenience to speak with you further about this matter.