Housing Boom Leads to Incompetence, Fraud

Homeowners are finding their new homes shoddily constructed, and legal recourse and compensation next to impossible.
July 28, 2005, 9am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"Home-building is a chief indicator of the economy's health, and politicians are rarely inclined to slow it down with regulation or oversight. Reinforcing that impulse is an extremely well-funded, organized builder lobby whose focus, according to Janet Ahmad of the watchdog group HomeOwners for Better Building (HOBB), has never been 'on how to build a house correctly, but on how to limit regulations and liability.'

"As a result, contractors throughout the country have been able to feed the U.S. housing boom with little fear of being held accountable for the quality of their work. The faster a house is constructed, the greater the profit, and thus many homes are now built as though on an assembly line, often in as little as 90 days. Contractors 'build them spacious and grandiose and give them the appearance of quality,' says Ahmad, whose group tracks both federal and state regulations. Behind the facade, though, are often shoddy workmanship and cheap materials, such as 'wood' trim that is actually recycled paper."

Thanks to Michael Dudley

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Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 in MotherJones.com
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