SCI Recommendations Considered When Drafting Bills to Protect Buyers from Poor Construction and Corruption
TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice today said t new home buyers will soon have better protection from “rip-off artists who perform shoddy construction” with legislation based recommendations of the State Commission of Investigation (SCI), to be introduced next week.
According to Senator Rice, the SCI recommendations include creating licensing and work standards for builders, expanding and enforcing accountability for corruption in the inspection process, and revamping the State’s Consumer Fraud Act by enacting a new-home “Lemon Law” similar to one that exists for defective new cars.
“When you purchase a new home, you expect quality construction for your investment,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex, and Chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. “Unfortunately, the SCI hearings uncovered a major problem with poorly built homes. The number of residents with nightmarish experiences of negligent workmanship in their homes has been on the rise over the years, and it’s time to give homebuyers the peace of mind that their houses are safe.”
Senator Rice also reported that, “The SCI uncovered evidence of rampant code violations, of which some were potentially life threatening. After reading the SCI report, I realized that the spectrum of problems range from inspection irregularities, to dangerous building code violations to an unresponsive system for remedying these problems,” added Senator Rice.
Senator Rice has been working with SCI officials, as well as representatives from all sides of the new home construction issue to create legislative reforms that will increase government oversight and provide safeguards for those purchasing homes in New Jersey.
Senator Rice stated that he is working on an extensive new homebuyer’s Bill of Rights that will correct the problems with home construction and inspections that were mentioned in the SCI report.
“One measure I am drafting will speed up the inspection process when the local agency is unable to handle the volume of inspections because of staffing limitations,” said Senator Rice. “The measure will authorize the Department of Community Affairs to direct inadequately staffed agencies to have developers pay for inspections to be performed by independent engineers and architects.”
Senator Rice plans to get the public’s input on his legislation by holding a public hearing in May.