<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR> <p>Each year, thousands of unsuspecting home buyers become owners of defectively built new homes due to faulty design, code violations, cracked foundations, missing critical materials, improper site preparation and grading, moisture problems and leaks that can lead to mold/rot, substandard workmanship, and even unsafe structures. Thousands lose their life savings, as well as the value of their homes, and years of stress from trying to get laws enforced and the builder or warranty company held accountable for its failure to honor the contracts. To make matters worse, it has been the consensus of our elected officials to punish Americans further by supporting building industry legislation that harms homeowners under the guise of consumer protection and affordable housing.</p> <p>If you are viewing this text, your browser lacks the ability to read frames or iframes. Don't worry; you can still enjoy our site. All the pages can be viewed from the <A href="http://cauc2.net/sitemap.htm" TARGET=_parent >Site Map page</A>. Please come inside!</p> <p>This is also a story about an atrocious roof installed by Eagle Construction. Did the Better Business Bureau, Better Contractor's Bureau, NARI - National Association of the Remodeling Industry, GAF Materials Corporation, or the D&amp;C newspaper do anything to help the consumer? Amy wants to share what she has learned to help other consumers not make the same mistakes she made.</p> <H1>Our Nation Needs Your Help (You ask,What Can I Do?)</H1>
Our Nation Needs Your Help
{You ask, What Can I Do?}


How much pain and suffering will we accept before we have the courage to make changes? Follow your inner voice, and eventually the world will hear you.

Do you know that you can lose your house if you pay a general contractor, but he or she doesn't pay the supplier(s) or the sub contractor(s)? I found out that the supplier or sub-contractor can put something called a mechanic's lien on your home, and even force it to be auctioned off. How can we have laws that support a scoundrel taking the money and running, while the taxpaying homeowner might lose his or her home, and end up living on the streets? This is so wrong; the laws have to be changed!

Laws like this encourage builders and contractors to be unscrupulous. Why should they be troubled about financially devastating a homeowner? The subs and the supplier(s) won't come after them for the debt owed to them; they'll go after the homeowner. The poor, swindled homeowner is left homeless and without any real way to recoup their losses. There is little chance the contractor will ever get his just deserts. "By completing a little bit of the work, they can face only civil rather than criminal charges," says Mark Herr, director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

Step up to the plate now, if you are interested in getting your home improvement projects done right the first time – if you're interested in being treated fairly and protecting your rights as a homeowner – if you are interested in having any recourse if problems arise. The time is ripe to enlighten our legislators. We have a voice; let's be heard. Jesus says speak your mountain, and it will move. Mark 11: 22-25

Joshua 6:20 tells us that all the people shouted so loud when the trumpets sounded that the mighty walls of Jericho collapsed. Let's bring down the walls – the blockades to change!

It is my desire to obtain contractor licensing for all of NYS, then all of the US. Congressmen, Legislators, and the Assembly need to realize that unlicensed contractors are undermining the very fabric of the American dream. Taxpayers are losing their homes, or at least their investment in their homes, because of these practices, and because of the current laws that don't protect them.

The only way that I can think to change the way things are now, is to appeal to our Federal Legislative Branch, to their compassion for others, and their self-preservation instinct. After all, they will need to have home-improvements done to their homes someday too. If our legislative branch allows unskilled workers to continue infiltrating the industry, and gaining a stronghold because they can do jobs cheaper, there won't be any skilled craftsmen left in the future. – Builders and General Contractors don't provide training to contractors, as they did to apprentices in the past. A first step would be testing for minimum requisite skills, and the accompanying regulations.

I back up these statements with this tidbit. Sandra Bullock hired an architect who was described to her as "the best architect in Austin, if not in Texas." Expert witnesses for Bullock have testified that the home is "failing, coming apart and slowly collapsing." One expert testified "an incredible amount of water intrusion," caused damage to the home's framing and promoted the presence of toxic mold, Stachybotrys. He continued with photos showing roof bracing installed in the wrong direction and the standing metal roofing that had been installed sideways. The same expert pointed out an area where a three-foot piece of a second story floor support component was indiscriminately cut out. Other examples of shoddy construction include: leaky windows and doors, extensive rot growth, insect infestation, soggy insulation, a cracked chimney, and an exterior wall sitting directly on the ground without a foundation. Oops, no skill there!

Bullock sued her builders, winning $7.8 million in damages and penalties. She has not yet been able to collect the money to carry out repairs and has opted instead for a cheaper solution: demolishing the house. In a written statement after the verdict was reached, Bullock said, "I felt firmly committed to see this process through to a just conclusion, no matter what the outcome, especially for all those homeowners who could never afford to come this far." At least we have someone standing up for the little guy!

Oh, here's someone else: Elizabeth HanfordDole. Some excerpts from her address, as Commissioner of the FTC, to The National Association of Home Builders Annual Convention on January 21, 1979:

"...Shoddy building practices can be concealed from many purchasers who cannot be expected to have the technical expertise to evaluate the structural soundness of a home or the quality of electrical, plumbing, or air conditioning systems... The patience of the American consumer is rapidly running out. ...Consumers are demanding more protection from the government, not LESS. It is clear, therefore, that in the absence of better alternatives, the federal government is certain to become more and more heavily involved in resolving these disputes and assuring the consumer a square deal in the marketplace."

One alternative to the problem "is for the Federal government to step forcefully into the picture, bringing with it all of the regulatory and enforcement powers entrusted to it by law."

Of course, another "alternative is for the home building industry to regulate itself... So I say to you today that as homebuilders, you have a choice: either you can each independently decide to make self-regulation work; or you can brace yourselves for full-scale, hard-hitting regulation from the government. It's that simple."

{NAHB has not regulated itself! It's time for our government to follow-through with Mrs. Dole's threat, and keep her "promise"!}

Take a little time:

  1. File complaints if you have suffered at the hands of a contractor.
  2. Please contact as many Representatives, Senators and other legislators as you can. This affects our whole nation not just, counties, states or districts. Demand fair treatment for consumers: no Right-to-Cure laws, no Mechanics Liens on homeowners, and contractor licensing. Without licensing, there may be no enforcement and no consumer protection when a contractor does shoddy work, even if they did not follow building or safety codes. Right-to-Cure laws strip consumers of many basic rights, and Mechanic's Liens allow a person's home to be stolen! Consumer's Union advises that we "Improve government oversight. State and municipal governments could better enforce codes by ensuring that building departments are adequately staffed... And federal officials should survey new-home buyers to determine the extent of serious problems." I also believe that Roofing / Re-roofing permits should be required everywhere, and insurance policies need to be standardized to provide better protection to homeowners when their homes are damaged – whether it's flood, fire, disaster, or poor workmanship. Maybe you can add those suggestions to your letters as well.
  3. Write to our President. Ask that laws be changed to protect homeowners. Ask that the FTC be directed to actively protect homeowners; to aggressively impose severe penalties, including possible jail-time for construction executives, some of whom have $47 million pay packages. Make it so the FTC stops conduct that most threatens consumer welfare, such as fraudulent and deceptive practices.
  4. HELP BY SPREADING THE WORD! "Until bad builders, instead of homeowners, feel the repercussions for construction defects, there is no incentive for safe and sound construction, or ethical business practices."

I am not very politically oriented; if anyone has any other ideas, please send me an e-mail.

Financial institutions that make home improvement loans and 'Home Equity Lines of Credit' are greatly impacted by the shoddy construction practices. It's possible for these rip-offs to bring about financial ruin, and the effects ripple throughout the economy. The homeowners are unable to make the necessary repairs, pay all the legal costs of fighting the contractor, and keep up with the 'mortgage'. The bank, then, has to foreclose on the house that is no longer worth what it was before the construction. In some of these cases, the foreclosing bank may or may not have been informed of the home's defects; and may be selling the home, without proper repairs, to an unsuspecting buyer.

Maybe if the Lending industry started a general practice of legally supporting defrauded consumers, these financial businesses could protect their investments AND encourage contractors to do the job right the first time. At present, it's just too easy for contractors to do the job wrong, and get away with it. What if lenders and insurance companies unite to successfully lobby legislators to enact licensing? It is possible that effective regulation of contractors would save these companies millions of dollars. The savings could be passed on to their customers / clients, increasing the deposable dollar per capita. The economy would improve, instead of being impaired by shoddy construction.

Any company or banking institute, who may be interested in joining a campaign for change, please send me an e-mail.