Our Endorsement: No on Prop. 201by Tucson Citizen on Oct. 21, 2008, under Elections, Opinion
Ballot propositions are typically put forth to fix perceived problems in the Arizona Constitution or state law.
That said, it is unclear why Proposition 201 – the so-called Homeowners’ Bill of Rights – has made its way to the ballot.
Seemingly unneeded, it would undo a portion of state law that appears to be working fairly well.
Therefore, the proposition should be rejected by voters Nov. 4.
The Arizona chapter of the AFL-CIO is behind Prop. 201. But unless the organization’s goal is to force unionization of homebuilding, as some opponents of the proposition claim, the reason for the its involvement is hazy.
Prop. 201 would require a 10-year warranty on new homes, up from the industry standard of eight years.
But its most significant provisions would change the way dissatisfied homebuyers would deal with the homebuilders.
Current law is designed to steer both sides toward a resolution with a lawsuit as a last possibility.
Today, if a buyer is dissatisfied with a new home, the buyer must give the builder a written description of the problems.
The builder then must inspect the home and tell the buyer in writing how the problems will be resolved.
There are deadlines for each step in the process. If the builder fails to meet a deadline or if no agreement is reached, the buyer may file suit.
Prop. 201 would allow buyers to immediately sue builders without first trying to resolve the issue through mediation. The proposition also would not allow builders to ask a judge to award them attorneys’ fees if they win – a departure from law governing other types of lawsuits.
Those behind the proposition say it is needed because too many shoddy homes are being built. But the 2008 New Home Quality Survey by J.D. Power and Associates find homebuyers are generally satisfied and the number of complaints has declined.
The current law was enacted in 2002 after input from homebuilders and consumer advocates. Supporters of Prop. 201 have not put forth any pressing reason to replace that law with a new one that would allow buyers to immediately rush to sue while prohibiting builders from seeking repayment of their legal fees if they prevail.
The Tucson Citizen urges a “no” vote on Prop. 201.