Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog

Washington Homeowner Rights Bill: Contact Your Legislator Now

Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1393 (ESSB 1393) is currently under consideration by the House Ways & Means Committee.  The Bill is drafted to address real property construction improvements through "consumer education, warranty protections, contractor registration requirements, and worker certification standards."

This Bill would create an "Office of Consumer Education for Home Construction" under the guidance of the Attorney General's Office.  This new office would become a resource for consumers and would also receive and monitor complaints against residential construction contractors.
Another consumer protection provision of the Bill includes the creation of a "Home Construction Board." This Board would act as a mediator between owners and residential contractors when disputes arise.  As drafted, a property owner seeking recourse would be required to comply with the procedures before commencing litigation.  The make-up of the board as proposed seems a bit weighted in favor of industry insiders, but the concept is very promising, particularly for small disputes that are ill-suited for more formal dispute resolution procedures.
The Bill would also modify the common law implied warranty habitability.
There is also an express warranty provision that would require certain minimum standards in all contracts for the sale or construction of new residential property including:
  • One-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials;
  • Two-year warranty against defects in the wiring, piping and ductwork in the electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, ventilating, and mechanical systems;
  • Four-year warranty against damage to basement slabs; and
  • 10-year warranty for structural defects.
The need for consumer protection in residential construction has been required for years.  Currently, a Washington consumer has more protection buying a toaster in this state than a home.
We recommend all Washington residents contact their legislators in support of this Bill.  Whether you are in the market for a new home today or sometime in the future, shouldn't that home meet at least some minimum performance standards?  Contact your legislators today (find your legislators here)--do not let the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) kill this vital piece of litigation.