The Sunset Act, which is chapter 325 of the Government Code, requires that the legislature review each state agency periodically to determine whether the functions of that agency should continue. In the 2009 regular session of the Texas Legislature, the legislature allowed the provisions of Title 16 to expire under Property Code section 401.006 as of September 1, 2009. The result? The TRCC is abolished.
The statutory warranties and performance standards are still in effect and will apply to contracts for construction executed before, or titles for new homes transferred before September 1, 2009. If there is no contract for construction and no title transfer, then the statutory warranties and performance standards will apply to residential construction that commenced before September 1, 2009. Furthermore, new homes and residential construction projects to which Title 16 applies still must be registered with the commission.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What happens if the Homeowner discovers a construction defect after September 1, 2009?
The TRCC no longer accepts new complaints or requests for inspection. A homeowner or a builder must hire their own Structural Engineer or Workmanship & Materials Inspector to address any alleged construction defects.
Contact your builder. If your builder does not respond satisfactorily, you may want to contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. You can also complain to the Attorney General’s Consumer Complaint Division, Federal Trade Commission, your local County or District Attorney or to your local Better Business Bureau.
- What happens to the statutory warranties and the commission-adopted performance standards after September 1, 2009?
Texas courts have not had a chance to review the legal effect of the Sunset Act on Title 16. The question about the continuation of these provisions is debatable. Although the commission believes that Title 16 expires on September 1, 2009, except to the degree that the commission maintains its powers (including its enforcement powers) to complete all preexisting business; it could be argued that the statutory warranties and the commission-adopted performance standards continue until August 31, 2010.
- Will a court recognize the statutory warranties and commission-adopted performance standards, even if the commission no longer exists?
For contracts executed before September 1, 2009, or work commenced before that date, courts will consider the law in effect at that time. So, if Title 16 was still in effect when the parties signed a contract for new home construction or transferred title on new home construction, the statutory warranties created by Title 16 and the commission–adopted performance standards still apply.
Furthermore, if the parties agree in their contract to the terms of the applicable warranties and performance standards, a court will rely on the terms of the contract to determine if those warranties and performance standards apply, including if the parties have agreed to apply the statutory warranties and commission-adopted performance standards.