Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Report: Tort “Reform” in Texas: Implementing the Corporate Immunity Agenda
Texas Watch Foundation—September 26th, 2011
"Despite a professed desire to adhere to fundamental constitutional principles, Governor Rick Perry’s tenure has been marked by radical changes that arbitrarily and dangerously restrict the legal and constitutional rights of Texans of all walks of life, including patients, families, workers, homeowners, senior citizens, policyholders, and small business owners. This report discusses the most notable of these statutory changes and details their devastating human cost, namely, how they have closed the courthouse door on many Texas families.
... The framers of the United States and Texas constitutions, who enshrined trial by jury as a fundamental right and believed in checks and balances, would not recognize the current Texas legal system, which perverts the rule of law into an instrument for the moneyed and powerful, as well as divorces it from any concept of justice.
Along with others in the state’s political leadership, Governor Perry has presided over a series of draconian legislative reforms, particularly in 2003 and the sessions to follow, that effectively reward those who needlessly endanger our community, socializing risk and forcing victims, taxpayers, and responsible business owners to bear the costs of others’ wrongdoing.
The homebuilding industry, one of the wealthiest and most powerful constituencies within the corporate immunity lobby, successfully created an entirely new state agency, the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC), with the passage of HB 730 in 2003.
At a time when state government faced a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, and when the ruling majority professed allegiance to small government, questions arise: Why would an industry demand the creation of a state agency, and why would an anti-government legislature accede so readily to those demands? The answers lie in the structure of the agency and its authority. Dominated from within by industry representatives, the TRCC was more about regulating homeowners’ claims against builders than regulating the industry’s building practices to ensure homes were constructed in a safe, sound, and habitable manner.
Establishing weak building standards and warranties, forcing homeowners into a lengthy administrative gauntlet under the auspices of a state-sponsored inspection and resolution process, and making homeowners prove two cases in one if they somehow persevered and took their case to trial, the TRCC immunized many builders from liability by exhausting already-distressed homeowners and giving the state’s imprimatur to inadequate building practices.
This industry enjoyed not one but two layers of special protection, having already pushed through the “Residential Construction Liability Act” over a decade earlier, which limits homeowners’ damages, requires them to give pre-suit notice and inspections of their property, as well as empowers shoddy builders to make offers that can carry consequences if the homeowner rejects. This corner of the law exemplifies the power of special interests.
The Texas Legislature undertakes a periodic “Sunset” review of state agencies to determine whether they should continue (and in what form). Six years after it came into being, the much-maligned and fatally-flawed TRCC did not survive this process. After homeowners and their advocates fought to try to give the TRCC real teeth, the homebuilding lobby showed its true colors and decided it would rather have no agency than one that actually regulated the industry in a meaningful way.
Homebuilders and contractors were able to fall back to the aforementioned special protections already on the books. Even in the one time it lost, the corporate immunity lobby in Texas still came out ahead."
My deepest sympathies to Texas folks...
Monday, May 28, 2012
general information from http://www.essortment.com/home-buyers-guide-certificate-occupancy-co-24999.html :
"A certificate of occupancy is a document authorizing occupancy and use of a building. When any new construction or modification of an existing structure that requires a building permit has been completed, a final inspection of the building is done. Upon approval of the inspection, the building inspector, allowing the owner or tenant to take residence, will issue a certificate of occupancy.
Here are some examples of when a certificate of occupancy needs to be issued
* When a residential newly constructed home has been completed and complies with municipal building codes.
Who is responsible for getting the certificate of occupancy?
Inspectors from the municipal building department come in stages to inspect the work that has been done and report the approval back to the building department. Once all the work has been done and construction completed, a final inspection is done of the premises. If the work has been done correctly and there are no building code violations, a certificate of occupancy will be issued to the contractor.
Does issuance of the certificate of occupancy always mean the residence is in usable condition?
The certificate should not be issued if the property violates any building codes, and is not in usable condition. However, some inspectors may authorize issuance of the certificate of occupancy when the work has not been completed, with the understanding that the contractor will finish the work. This is when the property is very close to completion and is in useable condition and the work needing to be completed is minor.
Can the certificate of occupancy be revoked?
The building official does have the authority to revoke a certificate of occupancy when issued in error or when false or misleading information is given in order to obtain occupancy of the premises."
The requirement for a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) varies from state to state, and varies by local jurisdiction (city, town, county, etc.) within a state. Depending upon the size and strength ($$$) of your state and/or local homebuilding lobby, the $$$ contributed to political campaigns by builders, etc., a CO may not be required in your state or local jurisdiction, where it's needed the most--for new house construction. With no national standards, the individual citizen/consumer is "left out to dry". Check your local listing (local building department, local lawyer familiar with requirements for new residential construction, etc.) for the CO requirements near you.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Google "Pulte nightmare". Take a good look at all the results.
Now, google "Pulte Homes". Contrast the "hype" with the results from "Pulte nightmare".
Who do you believe?
"Hype" from Pulte Homes and their "pigs" (real estate sales agents, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, stockbrokers, politicians, JD Power, etc.)?
Or, the testimony of Pulte customers?
If you believe the hype, then good luck with your nightmare.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Pulte says it everywhere: problems with their houses are caused by customer “lack of normal care and maintenance”.
In Chicago, IL Pulte blamed problems with Pulte’s proprietary, defective gutters in brand new houses on “lack of normal customer care and maintenance”:
In Schertz, TX Pulte blamed cracked foundations in brand new houses on “lack of normal customer care and maintenance”: http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/Homeowners-continue-to-ask-builder-to-buy-back/5lZ1Uc2slUaQfW37hPB7XQ.cspx
Government officials in Schertz agreed.
Pulte Homes and government officials think that we’re stupid. Apparently, they’re right, because most people who have burned by Pulte Homes don’t bother to PUBLICLY tell Pulte Homes and government officials that we’re not.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
a quote from http://pulte-homes.pissedconsumer.com/pulte-used-defective-proprietary-product-on-490-homes-in-il-20120522320045.html :
"Pulte developed a proprietary gutter/soffit/trim system called Pultrim in 2005 and used it on new homes up until 2009 when they stopped its manufacture and use due to severe gutter crack problems in mid-west/northern climates and UV issues in the South. A total of 490 homes in Pulte/Del Webb's Grand Dominion community have Pultrum gutters and severe cracking has been documented in more than 60 % of these homes all of which are less than 5 years old. After initially replacing the cracked gutters in the first few homes experiencing cracking, (the second Pultrim installed also have cracked in all these homes), Pulte now has told all of us homeowners with Pultrim and problems that the cracks/leaks are the result of poor homeowner care as part of "normal homeowner maintenance". Has anyone else had any contact with Pulte about Pultrim? Eventually every home with Pultrim that experiences cold/snow winters will develop cracks and it costs thousands of dollars to correct as the entire system is effected. HELP!"
another quote--this one is from: http://www.pulte.com/quality-built-in/quality-built-in.aspx :
"Quality Built In: Our rigorous construction methods are designed to ensure that your home will be built right."
who do you believe?
the "Master BSer"?
Pulte's ARMY of pigs?
or the "Master BSer's" customers?
LET THE BUYER BEWARE!
BTW... a question for the many unfortunate Pulte customers, who owned homes previously (that, fortunately, weren't Pulte homes):
What "normal care and maintenance" did you do on the gutters of your previously-owned, non-Pulte, houses to prevent them from "severely cracking in the first five years"?
Not only will Pulte Homes sell you a poorly-built, defective house, but Pulte Homes will also insult your intelligence!
What a builder!
What customer service!
Saturday, May 19, 2012
"I was asked to coordinate a remodel for a client who owns a Pulte home; in a VA neighborhood of Pulte homes!
I was shocked: all the tile was installed directly on the plywood sub-floor rather than using Durock or Hardy board; the "industry standard." Curious; the owner and I decided to poll the neighborhood: all of the responses have been the same: cracked, chipped tile - tile to sub-floor; no intermediate material!
Siding problems too! One owner was told if he remained "quiet," it would be repaired in its' entirety."
NO quality control. 100% defective. Pulte couldn't have done a worse job if they tried.
and, how's that for customer service and "standing behind your product"? "One owner was told if he remained 'quiet,' it would be repaired in its' entirety."
what a lousy builder!
Friday, May 18, 2012
"These large builders like D.R. Horton and Pulte are pretty sophisticated about waiting out the press. Eventually the press is going to get bored and move on. The problem for these homeowners is the statute of limitations."
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
at least Dawson Foundation Repair is honest about it.
unlike Pulte Homes ("Master Builder" and "...builds quality homes...")
and their pigs...
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Now we're hearing that Pulte Homes has survived the housing bust:
It's a damn shame! Dishonest, reckless and arrogant Pulte Homes, that builds shoddy houses and treats customers poorly, survives.
Why? Because most Pulte customers who were sold shoddy houses don't speak out PUBLICLY about them, and about the shabby way that Pulte treated them.
As a result, Pulte survives. It's a damn shame!
Friday, May 4, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Pulte campaign contributions to county commissioners:
who? how much? and, WHY?
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Pulte Homes = shoddy construction + no quality control + shabby customer treatment
Let the buyer BEWARE!