The Senate Consumer Protection and Housing Committee held a work session on construction problems with single-family residential construction. Senator Brian Weinstein (D-41) has introduced a series of bills that he has labeled the Homeowners Bill of Rights:
SB 5044 changes the statute of repose from 6 years to 10 years and exempts structural from the limits of the statute.
SB 5045 creates a new practice act licensing requirement for contractors.
SB 5046 creates a new legal cause of action for complaints about residential construction.
SB 5048 extends the statute of limitations on condominium projects if the suit is dismissed without prejudice.
SB 5049 creates a “home warranty” for single family construction.
The AIA/WA is very concerned that the approach taken in the bills will negatively impact the market for single family homes. They would create a whole new set of “legal rights” for single-family residential construction; or, more accurately, they would create new grounds for lawsuits. The resulting litigation will likely increase liability insurance rates for architects, engineers and contractors.
The “work session” was stacked with proponents for these bills including an advocacy coalition, attorneys for homeowners and homeowners with bad experiences. For an alternative perspective the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), which represents homebuilders, and Contractors Bonding and Insurance Company (CBIC) testified about current industry practices.
Again, the hearing can be heard at http://www.tvw.org/; search for the committee name.