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Summary: Under current law, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) is responsible for approving industrialized homes before they are sold. If the TDLR believes a home is not code compliant, the agency is able to prevent the home from being available to the public. However, as the building code for industrial homes is periodically revised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), TDLR has the ability to penalize home builders for a home that does not meet the updated code even though the home was compliant at the time it was originally approved by TDLR.
HB 578 would put a 2-year window on complaints or penalties for houses approved by the TDLR. This would prevent builders from being held liable for changes made to the code more than 2 years after original approval.
Analysis: The current statute makes builders of industrialized homes liable for building code changes made after the home is originally manufactured and approved by the regulatory agency. This HB 578 protects home builders from ex post facto application of building code. A builder should not be held responsible for compliance issues created by code changes after the house was built and approved by a regulator. It is the responsibility of the TDLR to ensure that all the homes they inspect are safe for public use. As building codes change over time, existing structures should be grandfathered in and the builders should be held liable only to provisions of the code that existed at the time the building was completed and approved. Additionally, home builders should not have to be required to speculate about how the building code may be change in the future and base building decisions on such speculation.
HB 578 creates a more stable economic and legal climate by preventing builders from being penalized by new regulations that did not exist at the time a particular house was built. This legislation strengthens free markets and property rights while limiting the use of regulatory power to penalize business. We encourage legislators to support HB 578.