Problematic Home Warranties Bill Passes House

Last night the House passed HB 1393, which is a watered down version of the initial home warranty bill. This bill, while improved, still has some challenging provisions.

The House bill took architects and engineers out of the definition of “construction professional.” So it doesn’t directly target architects. However, the bill still includes “inspectors” in the definition of construction professional. And the definition also covers “design, supervision, inspection…or observation of the construction.” Therefore, an architect who inspects a project could still be held liable.

Overall, the bill does several things:

  • Proves that the “common law implied warranty of habitability” cannot be
  • Requires all contracts on the sale/construction of new residential projects
    have a written express warranty.
  • Establishes a “Home Construction Board” to investigate and mediate construction defect claims and pays for the board with a $100 fee added to the registration for builders doing residential

The house bill does not include the problematic stamping or inspection requirements that are in the Senate Bill, Engrossed Second Substitute SB 5895.

As mentioned previously, we hope that we can continue to work the bill to clear up the ambiguities. There was controversy about the bill coming up last night in the form it did. The builders, contractors, architects/engineers, and insurers were in negotiations with the sponsor, Representative Larry Springer. It was expected that the warrant provisions would not be in the bill. It was quite surprising when the bill came out with those provisions.

Stay tuned, this issue will continue to develop and change as the bills progress.

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