Thursday, March 12, 2009

Construction Law: New Amendment to House Bill 1393.

An amendment proposed by Representative Larry Springer of Kirkland to House Bill 1393 concerning "consumer protection in home construction" would create a seven-member Home Construction Board (Board) within the Office of Consumer Education for Home Construction (Office) to investigate and mediate construction defect claims.

Among other things, the proposal would allow the Board to use the services of neutral third parties to investigate, assess, and mediate claims creating an account to fund the Office from contractor fees charged by the Department of Labor and Industries. The proposed bill would also require the Office to examine issues involved in establishing a recovery fund to provide compensation to residential real property homeowners through a claim filing process and would provide that the common law implied warranty o
f habitability extends to subsequent purchasers who purchase the property within six years of construction. The proposed law would also limit damages recoverable under the common law implied warranty of habitability to the cost of repairs, or if those are clearly disproportionate to the loss in market value, limit damages to the loss in market value. Finally, the law proposes a requirement that every contract for the sale or construction of new residential real property provide for written express warranties to the purchaser or owner of the property complying with detailed requirements and including minimum levels of insurance coverage. The new amendment passed in the House by voice vote on March 11, 2009. The bill was referred to the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee on March 13, 2009.