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A bill to enable consumers to get defects with their newly built home repaired at a swift rate did not make it over its final legislative hurdle and was vetoed by Governor Brad Henry this week. Senator Todd Lamb stated that Senate Bill 431, also known as the Homeowner Construction Defect Protection Act, would have provided those who hire a builder to construct their new home with a peace of mind so if problems did arise, they would be remedied quicker and less costly than current law allows.
"I am extremely disappointed that Governor Henry did not sign SB 431 into law. As a new home owner, I understand how frustrating and time consuming it can be to reach your contractor to get something fixed in your brand new home. This legislation was not opposed by any consumer group and would have worked to provide added protection to Oklahomans," stated the Republican from Edmond. "Governor Henry has stated numerous times that he is a proponent of lawsuit reform, but in his veto he has voted against a reform measure that would have saved our state and our consumers a lot of time as well as saved them from expensive litigation."
Under provisions of SB 431 upon notification by the homeowner, the builder had 30 days to respond. The builder must to respond with a good faith estimate to repair, replace, or compensate the purchaser. The measure provided for the indebted parties to resolve their differences outside of the court system.
“I am positive this measure would have proven to be a positive impact upon Oklahoma consumers and would have also provided a clearly defined process to enable their homes to be remedied from potential construction defects. Instead, the measure has been vetoed and new homeowners will have to wait for another year or for another Governor, for these much needed reforms to be enacted.
"Similar legislation has been passed in 25 other states. I'm saddened that the Governor chose to listen to a few dissenting senators who voted in the minority against SB 431. It is ironic that those few senators also happen to be trial lawyers and worked against the needs of Oklahoma consumers," concluded Senator Lamb.