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Trash the TRCC

I’ll say it again: The Texas Residential Construction Commission was created at the behest of homebuilders for their protection from consumers, and it deserves ti die.

Nearly two weeks ago, the Sunset Advisory Commission said what TRCC opponents have been wanting to hear: The agency should be abolished because it is “fundamentally flawed.”

The decision has brought praise from those who contend the TRCC was created to protect home builders instead of homeowners. Those who support the agency, including the bill’s sponsor, disagree, saying it provides statewide building standards that did not exist in Texas and prevents unnecessary litigation.

The sunset report also sets up a fight in next year’s legislative session between lawmakers who want to abolish the commission and those who want it to remain intact.

With the support of home builders, the TRCC was established to create a system to resolve disputes between builders and homeowners before they headed to court.

The advisory commission’s report, however, said only 12 percent of cases in which the state has sent inspectors to review alleged defects have resulted in a “satisfactory offer or repair or compensation over the life of the program.”

Duane Waddill, the TRCC’s executive director, said the 12 percent figure has increased to about 34 percent in the last six months. He said that if the agency, which averages about 1,000 complaints a year, is abolished, it would clear about 28,000 builders from regulatory oversight.

Well, given that it was the builders who ran the TRCC, it’s at best arguable that they’re under any regulatory oversight right now. Since going through the TRCC was a requirement before any unhappy homeowner could take a builder to court, removing that barrier would seem to me to be beneficial to the customer. And you know, the Lege could always try again, and maybe this time create an agency with some actual teeth, and require it to include some consumer advocates on its board. I’m just saying.

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