Opinion

There are plenty of protections for homeowners

After reading the column presented by Andrew Villeneuve, “Families Deserve a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights,” in the March 7 Redmond Reporter, I can’t help but ask: Are you kidding me?

Does anyone actually believe that a person has “greater protection against a defective toaster” than in the purchase of a new home? Does anyone actually believe that a purchaser has no recourse against their builder if the “roof leaks, the foundation cracks, or if the house is unsafe” as constructed?

In fact, there is hardly an absence of lawsuits filed against builders, as there is ample legal recourse for homeowners to sue their builders.

The fact is that, unlike purchasing a toaster, buying a home involves a written contract, and that contract affords a homeowner a multitude of rights within a six-year statute of limitations. And that limitation period can be extended under what is known as a “Statute of Repose,” which essentially extends the limitation period for defects which are not readily observable or discoverable, but do become apparent over the passage of time. And builders cannot, as a matter of law, disclaim any warranty as it pertains to the structural integrity of the home. This is what is known as an “implied warranty of habitability.”

It is grossly irresponsible of Mr. Villeneuve to publish an article which tells the purchasing public that they are simply stuck if they buy a new home that is unsafe for their family to occupy six months after they move in. That is not the law in the State of Washington.

To argue that we need to have one more law to protect homeowners is disingenuous. Contrary to Mr. Villeneuve’s assertion, allowing homeowners to add a claim of “negligent construction” will not afford them any additional damages than what is currently available under a breach of contract or warranty claim.

If there really is evidence of a systemic problem with a builder’s work, Washington’s Consumer Protection Act enables homeowners to sue for treble damages and obtain reimbursement for their costs in bringing the action.

There is no question that a contractor should be held responsible for performing defective work. However, that protection already exists in both contract law, builders’ own express warranties, and through the implied warranty of habitability.

If the bill Mr. Villeneuve is advocating has as much merit as he argues, then he shouldn’t have to resort to sheer fabrications and scare tactics to sell the public on its merits.

Lisa M. Hammel, Redmond

Public safety should rule over politics

Sen. Rodney Tom’s decision to actively help put dangerous felons back into our neighborhoods is the worst of his many bad decisions.

The three strikes initiative was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters—citizens who feel that repeat criminals belong in jail. Rodney Tom wants to gut that law and that is wrong.

Why does Tom want these violent felons back on our streets?

The safety of our families, our friends and our fellow citizens should be more important than politics.

I don’t care what backroom deal Tom cut this time ... his idea to hold the prison door open to let these criminals back into our neighborhoods is reprehensible.

Warren McKenzie, Redmond

Carlson deserves a big thank you

A big thank you to John Carlson for letting us know about the details of SB 5292 that will allow the early release of violent felons by removing second degree robbery from the list of strikes that make up our states “3-strikes and You’re Out” law.

Due to this, murderers, sex offenders, armed robbers would be released early without having earned early release, and without review by the governor for clemency.

Jan Yokers, Bellevue

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