Rice Housing Construction Bills Advance

Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, speaks on the Senate floor in honor of retiring Senator Nicholas Asselta, R-Cumberland and Cape May.

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice and based on recommendations from the State Commission of Investigation (SCI) to protect new home buyers from unsafe construction practices was approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee today.

“In a recent investigation, the SCI uncovered evidence of rampant code violations in a spectrum of areas from inspection irregularities, to dangerous building code violations to an unresponsive system for remedying these problems,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “The number of residents with nightmarish experiences of negligent and shoddy workmanship in their homes has been overwhelming and I wanted to give homebuyers the peace of mind that their houses are safe. My four measures will increase government oversight and provide safeguards for those purchasing homes in New Jersey.”

The first measure, S-1028, would establish a Bill of Rights for new homebuyers. The rights would include ensuring a fair and realistic opportunity to seek mortgage financing and allowing homebuyers to require builders to hold in escrow for items that are incomplete. The bill was approved with 10 affirmative votes and five abstentions.

The second bill, S-1029, would enhance the protections under the current “New Home Warranty and Builders’ Registration Act” to include longer warranties and an expansion of what is covered under those warranties. The bill was approved with 11 affirmative votes and four abstentions.

The next bill, S-1449, would amend the “State Uniform Construction Code Act” to provide a procedure for getting inspections done properly and in a timely manner. The bill was approved with 12 affirmative votes and three abstentions.

The last measure, S-1450, would enhance the protections of purchasers of units in housing developments where some parts of the property are under common ownership and control. The bill was approved with 14 affirmative votes and one abstention.

“We need to protect people, who are paying their hard-earned money for such a huge investment from unscrupulous builders,” said Senator Rice. “Whether buying a new house or improving an existing home through renovations, mistakes can be both dangerous and costly. These bills will be a help address those problems and provide protection for homeowners.”

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