Contractors and homebuilders should reach out to legislators in the Iowa House and Senate and urge them to support the Opportunity to Repair Construction Defects bills, according to the Home Builders Association of Iowa.
The bills currently under consideration will give contractors, subcontractors and homebuilders the opportunity to address customer concerns before any litigation can proceed. For example, the Iowa Senate version of the bill—SSB3064, Opportunity to Repair Construction Defects—requires that a customer provide written notification of construction defects to the contractor 60 days before filing any related lawsuit.
“It’s sad that we need to pass a law for something that should be a common and normal business practice,” says Jay Iverson, CAE, IOM, Executive Officer of the Home Builders Association of Iowa. “The builder or remodeler should be given a chance to rectify an issue before [the customer takes] it to litigation.”
There are some minor differences between the Senate version and the House version—HSB575, Opportunity to Repair Construction Defects—but each seeks to protect homeowners and contractors by establishing the process through which the two parties address construction defects. Roughly 30 other states have passed similar legislation. The Iowa legislature will likely address these bills—key initiatives of the Home Builders Association of Iowa—during its next session.
“Most of the time the builder didn’t even know there was an issue at all—and then boom, they’re hit with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit,” Iverson says. “Some of these lawsuits have been putting less than 60 percent back into the homeowner’s pockets, and [builders] still have to pay to have the mitigation. [Passage of the legislation] just makes good business sense.”
Iverson urges contractors to call their legislators and tell them to support these “right to repair” bills when they’re considered during the next legislative session.