Jeff Bohen- Digital Reporter
State Rep John Galloway(D-Bucks) introduced legislation last week aimed at protecting consumers whose new homes have been
damaged by water.
In a Facebook post, Galloway explained the impetus for his bill:
“Many Bucks County residents continue to report severe water damage to their homes due to shoddy workmanship. After looking into the issue, experts have found the circumstances behind the work unacceptable, and I’ve drafted legislation that will be making its way through the House to apply new consumer protections for homebuyers. Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases we make in our lives. We should be paying for a product that is sound and safe, not riddled with improper material or construction.”
The New Home Consumer Protection Act was prompted by a November 2018 Philadelphia Inquirer investigation examining “shoddy new residential construction…” The report found rushed production, unskilled labor, inferior materials, and a lack of oversight facilitated a situation where water was enabled to seep into the walls of newly constructed homes, leaving homeowners with repair bills in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Galloway’s measure would enhance protections for consumers buying new homes while holding builders culpable for when problems arise. “Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases we make in our lives. We should be paying for a product that is sound and safe, not riddled with improper material or construction,” Galloway said.
Highlights of the HB879:
- Home Builders and LLC’s would be required to register with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office every two years.
- Comply with precise language in purchase contracts
- Companies to inform consumers of construction defects within three months discovery of a building defect.
- A fund controlled by the Pennsylvania Attorney General would be created by a $50 dollar fee every home builder would have to pay when entering contract with a consumer.
- A Builders registration with the state would be suspended when a payment is made on behalf of an entity to a consumer and would not be restored till the company pays the state back in full.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Consumer Affairs which is chaired by State Rep. Brad Roae. A hearing on the legislation, as of press time, is yet to be scheduled.