HOMEOWNERS'BILL OF RIGHTS

Preamble

When consumers buy a new home or contract
for additions and/or remodeling of an existing home: They have
the right to safe and sound, quality construction.

They have the right to expect that their new home and/or any home
improvements are built in compliance with all existing local,
state, and federal building codes and ordinances.

They have the right to expect that only quality, performance-proven
building products are used in their homes and that all such products
are installed in accordance with manufacturers’ specifications.

They have the right to expect that the architect's and engineer's
designs are completely and accurately followed.

They have the right to expect that the home will not leak or breed
toxic mold(s), is structurally sound, and that all mechanical
systems and structural components will perform properly.

They have the right to receive, in a timely manner prior to signing
a sales contract and/or closing documents, complete information
regarding their purchase contracts, warranties, disclosures of
agencies, and any and all relationships and/or partnerships their
real estate broker and/or builder may have with all agencies involved
with the home buying process. This includes, but is not limited
to: home inspectors, lenders, title companies, builders’/subcontractors’
insurance carriers, products’ manufacturers, realtors, and
home warranty companies.

They have the right to access records, public and private, regarding
performance and complaints pertaining to their builder, subcontractors,
home warranty companies, lenders, manufacturers, realtors, title
companies, insurance carriers, and any other entity associated
with the home building/home buying process.

They have the right to full disclosures in regard to new housing.

They have the right to a trial conducted by their peers, rather
than to be forced into contractual binding arbitration.

They have the right to peace of mind concerning the safety of their
family.

Despite the availability of high quality
housing within all communities throughout the United States, a
need exists, nevertheless, to protect home buyers against the
potentially ruinous effects of defective new home construction/home
improvement (remodeling) caused by negligent or unscrupulous building
and/or business practices.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting
homeowners realize their new homes are deficient. These problems
include, but are not limited to: faulty design, code violations,
cracked foundations, moisture problems that lead to toxic molds,
substandard workmanship, and generally unsafe structures. Multitudes
of homeowners have suffered great losses: their life's savings,
their physical and emotional health, and home value depreciation.

Homeowners are unprotected because local
governments and their representatives are immune from lawsuits
concerning defective construction. Local government is legally
protected by the doctrine of "sovereign immunity". Lawsuits
are routinely "thrown out of court". Today, the building
industry is one of the most unregulated industries in the nation.

Therefore an urgent need for homeowners’/homebuyers’
protection exists.

Whereas
there are enormous dangers and pitfalls of confidentiality settlement
agreements in construction defect litigation, and

Whereas
our tax-dollar-funded government agencies designed to protect
the home buying consumer are rendered useless by confidentiality
agreements, and

Whereas
time and again, consumers are victimized by industries and individuals
who host a hidden history of unscrupulous business practices,
a history often agreed upon by both parties in a legal dispute
which further buries and makes such information unobtainable to
the public sector, and

Whereas
most victims do not desire to settle with confidentiality, it
is often forced upon them after years of stressful litigation
and a desire for closure. This results in further injuries to
a trusting and ill-informed home-buying public. Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

The Prohibition of Confidentiality
Settlements in Construction Defect Litigation.
The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights shall allow
injured/distressed homeowners to disclose fraudulent business
ethics, code violations, and other substandard building practices
to federal, state, and local agencies designed to protect the
consumer. That does not mean you can publicly criticize your builder
as you please, but there would be absolute, accurate, and accessible
records for public scrutiny and homebuyer protection. All legal
judgments and/or out-of-court settlements shall be made obtainable
to the public sector. This bill shall include remodeling/home
improvement contractors.

Whereas
builders/developers are often aware of code violations, problems
with compactions, and other defects to a home during the building
process. Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

New Home Disclosure Act. Regardless of local government inspections,
finals, and/or certificates of occupancy, builders/developers
must disclose any and all known problems in new home construction.
Laws that govern disclosure on resale homes shall be applied to
new homes. Any and all code violations of state and/or municipal
building regulations must be disclosed. Within the same subdivision,
builders/sellers of new construction must disclose to the home
buyer any past and/or pending litigation for defects.

Whereas
there are no punitive and/or emotional distress awards, and after
attorney fees and costs, homeowners are usually left with less
than half the monies awarded to make repairs. Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

The Right to Wholeness. Reimbursements of attorney fees and expert costs
involving both in-court and out-of-court settlements. Such reimbursements
will include emotional distress awards for homeowners who have
had to suffer the mental anguish of living in substandard housing
and/or illness(es) contracted due to substandard housing. This
bill shall encompass new construction and remodeling/home improvement.

Whereas
homebuyers often receive "bandage" repairs for serious
defects and code violations, as opposed to appropriate repairs,
they are often forced to live in homes that are uninhabitable
and/or dangerous to occupants’ health (i.e., unsafe structures
or toxic molds such as mycotoxins due to defective construction).
Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

Obligation to Repair/"The
Home Lemon Act".

Obligation to repair. Homeowners have the legal obligation to
allow homebuilders the opportunity to repair. All repairs shall
be at the homeowner’s discretion, be verified by a qualified
third party (of the homeowner’s choosing). Homeowners will
be reimbursed for any costs of inspection. Should the qualified
third party feel that there is no adequate remedy for repair,
builders/developers must purchase the home and reimburse the homeowner
for all costs pertaining to purchase, resolution, legal fees,
inspections, etc. This reimbursement will also include the costs
of any upgrades, plus increased market value. This bill shall
encompass new home construction and/or remodeling/home improvement.

Whereas
binding arbitration and/or mediation is unconstitutional and takes
away the homeowners’ right to a trial of their peers, there
are often no options for appeal. The arbitrator's decision is
final, and

Whereas
plaintiffs are often denied discoveries and/or witnesses, and

Whereas
homebuyers are typically unaware of the perplexity of arbitration,
along with hidden costs, many homeowners find the expense of arbitration
to far exceed court costs, and

Whereas
arbitration translates to "No jury of your peers to weigh
the facts, reports, photos, and other documentation, or relate
to the hardships". These hardships often include living with
illness due to toxic molds, fear for family safety, excessive
stress, and financial losses. All need and deserve to be heard
by one’s peers, and

Whereas
there are too many known cases of bias due to the fact that certain
arbitrators are often chosen by builders and others in the building
industry and develop an "industry rapport". Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

The Prohibition of Arbitration. The prohibition of any and all binding arbitration
and mediation clauses in homeowner purchase contracts and/or warranties.
All arbitration and/or alternative dispute resolutions shall be
optional. Homeowners will have the right to decide if they would
prefer a form of mediation outside of the courts and shall never
be, in any binding manner, forced to give up their rights to a
trial of their peers regarding home purchase contracts, home defects
of any type, and/or home warranties. This bill shall encompass
new home construction and/or remodeling/home improvement.

Whereas
home blueprints, vital tools for litigation purposes and a necessity
to complete repairs to homes, are often found to be "missing"
and/or "destroyed" by builders and/or city building
departments. Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

Preservation of Documents. All builders and/or cities’ building departments
are mandated by law to maintain, archive, and make available to
homeowners, copies of all residential blueprints for a period
of ten years from completion or face penalties and fines up to
$5,000 for noncompliance. This bill shall encompass new home construction
and/or remodeling/home improvement. Cities that do not enforce
this article shall forfeit any sovereign immunity for construction
defects and may be held liable for required repairs.

Whereas
deficient building materials are often used in new construction.
Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

Proven Materials. That no building materials that are proven to
fail and/or that have been subject to class actions shall be used
in the process of new home building and/or in home improvement/remodeling.

Whereas
in some states (i.e.. California Supreme Court Aas Decision) builders
are no longer held liable for building code violations, codes
(laws) that are the bare minimum in health and safety standards,
and

Whereas

homeowners/buyers have the right to expect that their home is
built in accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal
building codes and ordinances, and

Whereas
homeowners pay for builders' negligence and must by law disclose
these code violations to potential homebuyers, and

Whereas,
for example, a home whose electrical system or structural integrity
is not to code, and is thus a potential safety hazard, is deemed
suitable for habitation until occupants and/or said structure
is injured, and

Whereas
other states have and are now initiating legislation to relieve
builders from pending liabilities of defective building and/or
meeting local, state, and federal building codes and ordinances.
Therefore,

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

Safe and Sound Housing. Holding all builders/developers responsible
and liable for any and all building code violations. All builders
must abide by and build in accordance with applicable federal,
state, and local building laws and regulations. Builders are responsible
for the proper application of all building materials, according
to manufacturer specifications.

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

Building Industry Regulation. The licensing, bonding, proof of liability insurance,
and finger printing of all contractors and/or subcontractors in
each state. Fingerprinting shall be mandatory for all corporate
officers filed under licensee.

The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
shall encompass:

The Right to Inspect. All homebuyers have the legal right to have
their homes inspected by an independent inspector of their choice,
prior to purchase, regardless of the status of the home--new,
older, manufactured, remodeled, and/or from the ground up.


TAKE ACTION! Letter Campaign for
the Homeowners' Bill of Rights
---members,
affiliates, please cut and paste the Homeowners' Bill of Rights
and forward to your Representatives, both state and federal. .
. We have provided a letter below to assist you in writing your
legislators... Should you desire to, you may simply cut and paste
the letter below, or write your own to accompany the Bill of Rights.
Thank You

The Honorable ___________________________

Address

Date

RE: An urgent need exists for homeowner/buyer
protection.

Dear _____________________________,

I am a member of Homeowners Against Deficient
Dwellings, Inc. I have for your consideration enclosed a copy
of the Homeowners' Bill of Rights. I am asking that you will consider
sponsoring legislation based on the heartache and knowledge gained
from those families who have suffered the devastating losses of
negligent, deficient home construction.

When I bought my home, I thought it would
be safe for my family to live in. I was wrong. Mere words cannot
express what my family and others have gone through in respect
to defective housing. To make matter worse, existing laws are
stacked against the homebuyer/owner. Today, auto buyers have more
protection than homeowners do. Therefore, now more than ever,
we need our legislators looking out for home consumers' best interests.

The Building Industry would like you
to believe that consumer groups such as ours are trying to sensationalize
the issue and serve only to needlessly alarm prospective home
buying consumers. Nothing could be further from the truth. We
have firsthand knowledge of the crises in defective housing, which
include deficient building materials being used nationwide, new
homes that are either not inspected or under-inspected by the
responsible yet "immune" municipalities, families suffering
the ill of effects of toxic mold, losses of life savings, destruction
of marriages, and a host of other problems too numerous to mention.

We are not attorneys, realtors, nor builders.
But rather the very individuals who are living and working out
of our own deficient homes. Our homeowners are doctors, teachers,
ministers, war veterans, steelworkers--all of whom are taxpayers
and families who have lost everything, often including their health.
We have witnessed far too many families fall apart from the devastation
defective housing imposes, including my very own.

Homeowners are completely tired and dissatisfied
with an elitist system of white-collar crime and "justice".
If anyone else (i.e., auto dealers) inflicted these types of costs--fraudulent
business practices and devastation-on someone, they would face
imprisonment. How can we as an advanced society still afford the
rich such privileges? Builders' insurance companies just continue
to clean up after them. To make matters worse, insurance companies
and homebuilders have lobbied successfully to pass legislation
that excludes builder defects, code violations, and molds from
homeowners' policies. Builders never feel repercussions for building
defective housing. Both the building industry and insurance industry
continually support legislation to lower builders' liabilities
and take away homeowners' rights to resolution. This industry
simply wants--and gets--"off the hook" for violating
laws and destroying lives.

Too, we feel that simply seeking monetary
awards for repairs is often not enough. Builders of defective
housing need to be held accountable for their actions. Homeowners
deserve justice, a sense of wholeness. Set back a speedometer,
do the time. Destroy one's single largest investment, the home,
and sit at the next community redevelopment meeting with your
feet up, blissfully spending taxpayer money.

Justice
defined is the merit for both rewards and punishment--- it is
intended for the purpose of correctness. In construction defect
law there are no punitive and/or emotional distress awards for
us to send a message to enforce correctness. We have no large
jury awards from our peers to send a message that we have “hadd”
enough and that poor building practices and the violations of
building codes and laws will not be tolerated. Construction defect
laws are contractual and make no provisions for the victims' emotional
duress, duress that often can and does lead to physical ailments.
Construction litigation lawsuits are expensive and lengthy, and
after attorney fees and expert costs, homeowners typically have
less than half of their award to make necessary repairs. Justice eludes
homeowners.

Please support us in our mission for
safe and sound residential construction. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, include your name, address,
phone number.... Titles and memberships