HOUSTON REAL ESTATE LITIGATION ATTORNEYS
Serving Clients in Houston, West Houston, Southwest Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, Copperfield, Memorial, Spring, Northwest Houston, Northchase, Spring Cypress, Champion Forest, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, Lake Houston, Midtown, Memorial, West Oaks, Royal Oaks, Clear Lake, League City, Westchase Business District, Harris County, and Galveston County.
FILING A RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION DEFECT CLAIM WITH TRCC
Assisting Clients Through The Complicated Process of Filing or Defending TRCC Claims
Under the Texas Residential Construction Liability Act (RCLA), prior to filing a claim against a builder or contractor, the homeowner must provide a Notice of Claim. The notice must be detailed in describing the alleged defects, the cost or estimate of repairs, and specific violations in accordance to the Act, and have a specific demand for damages. Within 35 days of receiving the Notice, the builder or contractor has the opportunity to inspect the property and made a settlement offer if so desired. Within 25 days from the date of receiving the settlement offer, the homeowner must either accept or reject the settlement offer. If rejected, the owner must state the specific reasons as to why he rejected it and must demonstrate the offer was unreasonable base on the level of damages. Lastly, within 10 days from the date of receiving the response from the owner rejecting the settlement offer, the builder or contractor may amend offer.
In addition to providing notice to settle the claim with the builder or contractor, Section 426.001 of the Texas Property Code outlines the state-sponsored inspection and dispute resolution process (“SIRP”) by the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC). In order for the Builder or Contractor to receive protection from the TRCC through the SIRP process, the builder must be a registered company with the TRCC. In addition, effective as of September 1, 2007, all projects that are $25,000 or above must be registered under the TRCC. Once a claim is filed, the commission’s duty is to perform inspection and mediate the claim between the builder and the homeowner. The SIRP is not mutually exclusive of the notice and settlement offer stated above. Therefore, the homeowner can file a claim with the TRCC while negotiating a reasonable settlement offer with the home builder or contractor. However, all “qualified” claims must first go through the SIRP’s dispute resolution process prior to filing an action in District or County Court.
If the settlement offer or amended offer was reasonable in light of the damages, and the homeowner rejected the reasonable offer, the owner is only entitled to the amount of the judgment equal to the reasonable offer, including attorney’s fees and costs. In other words, if the offer was reasonable within the time frame provided under the RCLA, then the owner should accept the offer. Failure to accept a reasonable offer would limit the amount of recovery up to that reasonable amount. On the other hand, if the court determines that the builder failed to make a reasonable offer to settle within the statutory period, the owner may be awarded the actual damage and exemplary damages (three times the amount of the actual damage) if the builder or contractor is found in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).
Time is of essence in providing and responding to notices and to file a claim with the TRCC. Please contact our Houston Residential Construction Defect Attorneys and our Houston TRCC Claim Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham for assistance. Our Houston Construction Defect Lawyers and our Northwest Houston Construction Attorneys have successfully petitioned for our clients and received awards upward of hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients. At the same time, our Southwest Houston Construction Defect Defense Attorneys have experience defending builders and contractors against frivolous suits by greedy owners and lawyers. To learn more about our attorneys and services, please feel free to contact us online or via our office number at 713-517-6645.
The information above is NOT intended to replace a personal consultation with our Houston Real Estate Transaction Lawyers and our Spring Houston Real Estate Litigation Attorneys. Readers should not construe the information as a consultation. There may be other legal issues based on the specific fact of each case. Every case is unique and our Houston Real Estate Transaction Attorneys and our North Houston Real Estate Litigation Lawyers need to review the facts and circumstances of each individual case in order to provide a meaningful personal consultation. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.