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On April 24, I posted an item about the bill to “reform” the Texas Residential Construction Commission, which exists to protect Bob Perry, David and Dick Weekley, and other well connected homebuilders from lawsuits that previously could have been brought by disgruntled buyers. Apparently one loophole was left open that could have subjected a builder to disciplinary action. Not to worry. The Senate has closed it.
Sec. 418.001. GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION. A person, including a builder or a person who is designated as a builder’s agent under Section 416.006, or a person who owns or controls a majority ownership interest in the builder is subject to disciplinary action under this chapter for:
(8) failure to pay [nonpayment of] a final nonappealable court judgment arising from a construction defect or other transaction between the person and a homeowner;
[Language above in bold face is new; language in italics has been removed from the statute.]
Seems innocuous enough, right? Well, maybe not. According to Alex Winslow of Texas Watch:
Adding the word “court” means that failure to pay a final arbitration judgment would not be grounds for discipline by the TRCC. As far as I know, Perry Homes is the only builder that has been ordered by an arbitration panel to pay a homeowner. He has appealed the decision to the Texas Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard n March and we are awaiting the Court’s decision.
Yes, we are all awaiting the Court’s decision, to see if the justices have the effrontery to reverse lower court judgments against a major contributor. In the meantime, what will Allen Ritter, the House author of the TRCC bill, do with this provision when the bill comes back from the Senate? Concur with Senate amendments? Or send it to a conference committee and try to get rid of the industry-friendly provision? Oink.