Home Construction Disputes in Texas

Your home may be the largest investment that you will make in your lifetime. When the value of your home is negatively affected by defective construction, whether part of a landscaping or remodeling project, or during new home construction, rely on Powers Taylor to help protect your investment.

Due to the numerous overlapping laws, statutes, rules, and regulations, resolving a home construction or residential contract dispute in Texas can be difficult and time consuming without an attorney. In fact, failing to follow the requirements of some statutes can result in a complete dismissal of your claim. Powers Taylor assists clients navigate this maze to obtain the maximum recovery on claims.

Below, we have highlighted several of the laws applicable to residential construction claims.

Texas adopted the RCLA in 1999, which applies only to certain residential construction disputes arising on or after September 1, 1999. If the RCLA governs a construction dispute, statutory notice requirements, contractor inspection rights, and settlement procedures may be applicable. For instance, a homeowner may be required to provide statutory notice to the contractor or builder not less than sixty days prior to filing a claim in most cases. In addition, if a contractor or builder requests to inspect a home or property, the RCLA generally requires that the homeowner provide the builder or contractor a reasonable opportunity to inspect the property. Lastly, the RCLA sets forth procedures that can be invoked by a contractor or builder under which the contractor or builder can either make a settlement offer or offer to repair the claimed defects.

In 2003, Texas enacted the TRCCA, which created the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC). The TRCC regulates Texas’ residential construction industry and is tasked with, among other duties, establishing minimum warranty and building standards for residential construction. Among other important aspects, the TRCCA and TRCC established the following

  • Builder and new home construction project registration requirements. Under the TRCCA, all persons or entities meeting the statute’s definition of a builder must be registered and hold a certificate of registration issued by the TRCCA. Further, the TRCCA generally requires that all new homes or improvements to existing homes be registered with the TRCCA.
  • Minimum building standards and statutory warranties. The TRCC has also adopted minimum statutory warranties that apply to new home construction and home remodeling projects.
    • 1 year warranty for general workmanship and materials
    • 2 year warranty for “mechanical delivery systems,” such as plumbing, electrical, heating, and air-conditioning systems
    • 10 year warranty for major structural components and for the statutory warranty of habitability
  • Administrative state-sponsored inspection and dispute resolution process (SIRP). The TRCCA and TRCC also created the Administrative state-sponsored inspection and dispute resolution process, which is a mandatory process that applies to most claims for defects or construction problems arising after construction is complete.

In 2009, under The Sunset Act, Chapter 325 of the Government Code, the TRCC was abolished. Through this abolishment of the TRCC, the SIRP process was also dismantled for any complaints after September 1, 2009.

Depending on when a new home construction, remodeling, or landscaping project began, additional statutory and common-law warranties may apply to the construction

  • Manufacturer warranties
  • Express warranties
  • Contractual warranties
  • Implied warranties

In 1991, the Texas legislature enacted the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Act (“ACLA”), which created the Texas Appraiser Licensing and Certification Board (TALB) to regulate real estate appraisers in Texas. Under the ACLA and rules adopted by the TALB, persons offering their services in Texas as real estate appraisers must be certified or licensed, meet minimum continuing education requirements, and adhere to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (“USPAP”) as promulgated by the Appraisal Standards Board of The Appraisal Foundation. Whether an appraiser adhered to and met these standards may be an important part of any construction defect dispute.

The Texas Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminatory housing in the State of Texas and may apply to a new home construction or real estate transaction.

The Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, also known as “RESPA,” governs real-estate transactions involving federally elated mortgages. Whether a mortgage broker, escrow agent, or lender followed the requirements of RESPA could affect a homeowner’s residential dispute.

This is just a sample of the numerous statutes, rules, regulations, and standards that may apply to a new home construction dispute or landscaping or remodeling defect claim in Texas. Because many of these statutes and laws contain specific deadlines, procedural requirements, and damage limitations, contact an attorney at Powers Taylor.

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