Several bills intended to boost homeowners’ protection against defective construction faced steady opposition on the House floor from Republicans. They emphasized how the measures could burden the beleaguered construction industry by opening the door to greater contractor liability for damages or to costly lawsuits.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty agreed with their reasoning when he vetoed a bill sponsored by Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview) and Sen. Ron Latz (DFL-St. Louis Park) that would have reimbursed temporarily dislocated homeowners for the cost of short-term housing, such as a motel, if they were forced to vacate their homes because of a construction defect under warranty, or if the conditions of repairing such a defect, made the property uninhabitable.
“Although this legislation may be well-intentioned,” the governor wrote in his veto message, “we should be cautious about placing more burdens on the housing sector during this historic recession.”
The bill specified that homeowners would be reimbursed for the cost of temporary lodging at a rate limited to the maximum per diem rate set by the federal government for the place where the property is located.
“Under current law,” the veto letter continued, “a homeowner is entitled to receive ‘the amount necessary to remedy the breach of the warranty’ or ‘the difference between the value of the house without defect.’ Current law provides adequate reconciliation for the homeowner where there has been a violation of a warranty.”
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