From the Office of State Senator Glenn Hegar, District 18

For Immediate Release
March 9, 2009
Contact: Lisa Craven
(512) 463-0118

Hegar Files Texas Residential Construction Commission Reform Legislation
Says Sunset Bill Will Significantly Change Agency's Structure and Make it More Responsive to Texas Homeowners

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) — Today Texas State Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) filed sunset legislation to fundamentally reform the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) and make it more responsive to Texas homeowners. Under the legislation, the TRCC will be allowed to continue to function as a state agency for four additional years, but under close scrutiny from the legislature. Senator Hegar is the Vice Chairman of the Sunset Advisory Commission, an arm of the legislature created in 1977 to identify and eliminate waste, duplication, and inefficiency in state government agencies.

Senator Hegar said that Senate Bill 1015 is the result of the Sunset Commission's unanimous decision to make sweeping changes to the Residential Construction Commission that will: streamline its administration of the State-sponsored Inspection and Dispute Resolution Process (SIRP), implement steps to increase the number of disciplinary actions against "bad" builders, improve its customer service functions, and force action to regain the public's trust.

Under extreme scrutiny from its inception, the Residential Construction Commission has failed to win the public's confidence in its short six-year history and its efforts on behalf of homeowners have been met with equal skepticism from the legislature. During the Sunset Commission's hearings on the TRCC, Senator Hegar quickly realized that aggrieved homeowners were not being provided a cost effective, efficient, and streamlined dispute resolution process with homebuilders. Hegar said that had the Sunset Commission decided to abolish the TRCC, homeowners would have been required, under the Residential Construction Liability Act, to give a homebuilder 60 days notice before filing a lawsuit. During the Sunset Commission's public hearings it was noted that homeowners in a dispute with their builder oftentimes have difficulty finding a lawyer that will represent them in a home defect lawsuit and often face a wait of one to two years before having their day in court.

Realizing that Texas consumers deserve a more cost effective approach, Senator Hegar pushed strongly to reduce SIRP timeframes and to allow homeowners the opportunity to have disputes resolved in a more streamlined and efficient process. Under Senator Hegarís legislation, if disputes are not resolved within 105 days homeowners will gain the ability to go straight to court. Senator Hegar said that streamlined processes have worked very effectively for Texans in other areas of the law, giving individuals the opportunity to receive relief without having to exercise their last resort of hiring an attorney and going through the time consuming and expensive process of a lawsuit.

Senator Hegar said that he is committed to working with the public and members of the legislature to find additional solutions to assist hardworking Texans living the nightmare of having a home with significant faults and a builder unwilling to resolve them. By filing SB 1015, Senator Hegar said he hopes to restore the publicís confidence in an agency that has not adequately protected the interests of the Texas homeowners it was created to protect. Hegar said the agency will have four years to show vast improvement in dealing with consumer complaints or face the consequence of certain eradication.

"A person's home is often their most valuable asset, but it is much more than that," said Hegar. "A home is a place to raise a family, spend time with loved ones, and a place to feel safe. No Texan deserves to be forced to deal with an ineffective and, many times, hostile process to simply have their home properly repaired to the condition it should have been in when they purchased it. Texas homeowners have my word that either the TRCC will change the way it does business or it will be abolished. A state agency that does not serve the best interests of our citizens has no place in Texas," concluded Senator Hegar.