Housing Commission allowed to die

by Larry Lemmons
Newschannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The rules have changed if you have a dispute with the company that builds your house.

You may never have heard of the Texas Residential Construction Commission unless you are a homeowner or homebuilder who has been involved in a dispute over the construction of a home. This year the Texas legislature sunsetted the Commission, allowing it to be abolished.

The TRCC was created in 2003 to mediate disputes between a homeowner and homebuilder.

It was intended to replace lawsuits.  Ron Connally, President of the Texas Association of Builders says, "There was just so much of that what we would call frivolous lawsuits that should not be handled in a courtroom... We had found that the trial lawyers lost about 85% of their business of this nature once the act was passed. So the act obviously was doing what it was intended to do."

Not everyone agrees with that assessment.  Attorney Tim Newsom says, "I know a lot of builders may feel that way but I don't necessarily think that's true." In fact, he says the process was too ponderous to be practical.  "What you have is a long process that can last sometimes over a year, for multiple inspections, multiple reports from engineers, appeals from those reports and then you get to start the lawsuit process."

On the other hand, building standards were monitored to a greater degree than before 2003.  Connally says, "About 600 builders were eliminated in the State of Texas. They were refused the right to be registered to build in the state of Texas. As of September One, those guys are back in business."

The Commission will continue to handle claims that are still pending, at least through August of next year.