MANALAPAN – Senator Ellen Karcher said she was pleased that the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee chose to hold its final public hearing on home contractor reform in Monmouth County, and vowed to work with the Committee members to enact meaningful reform that protects all home buyers in New Jersey.
“Monmouth County is currently in the midst of a building boom, as contractors and developers work to meet the increased needs of the growing suburban population,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “However, this boom leaves new home construction ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous individuals looking to make a quick buck by cutting corners and providing shoddy work. We need to protect homebuyers from these individuals and ensure that the American Dream of home ownership doesn’t become a nightmare of escalating repair costs and unsafe workmanship.”
Senator Karcher noted that an SCI report released last year, entitled, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – New Home Construction in New Jersey,” highlighted some of the worst cases of contractor fraud in the new home market, including many from Monmouth County. In particular, the development at Manalapan Chase, where all 52 units in the development had structural problems, and Four Seasons in Wall, where all 400 units had varying degrees of construction problems, stand out as among the worst. The Manalapan Chase fraud case even led to the indictment of a municipal home inspector for falsifying documents related to the development.
“We need strong deterrents in place to protect home buyers from those individuals who would take advantage of the new home contracting process for personal gain,” said Senator Karcher. “New Jersey’s new home buyers need to be protected from unscrupulous contractors and home inspectors who would defraud them to line their pockets, and we need to provide resources to home inspectors so that they can spot the tell-tale signs of construction fraud. We cannot let home construction fraud turn a family’s dream home into something closer to the ‘Money Pit.'”
Senator Karcher noted a package of contractor reform bills, sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice, the Chair of the Community and Urban Affairs Committee, and Senator Fred H. Madden, would put New Jersey on the right track when it comes to home buyer protections. The bill package is currently pending a vote by the Committee.