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Homeowners Haunted by Construction Defects Dream of a Good Night's Sleep

October 17, 2008

Phoenix, AZ – Sagging ceilings, cracked walls, and shifting floors sound like a scene from a Halloween haunted house, but they're part of a real-life list of home construction defects in Arizona.

What do you do when your dream home becomes such a nightmare - and the builder would rather fight you in court than fix the problems? Arizona voters will answer that question on the November 4th ballot.

The state's labor groups are supporting a ballot measure that would give buyers more legal clout to repair construction problems incurred during Arizona's building boom in the first half of the decade. Proposition 201 would relieve buyers of the court costs if they decide to sue about construction defects.

Dana Kennedy with the Arizona AFL-CIO says some homebuilders were under great financial pressure to get houses built hurriedly.

"There is evidence of many homebuilders encouraged workers to cut some corners in order to build the homes quicker."

Many homebuilders warn the end result would be higher-priced homes for everyone. They argue that Proposition 201 will result in thousands of lawsuits clogging the court system, but Kennedy is hopeful builders will work with homeowners.

"Although it will give homeowners the option of going to court, I think most people want to solve this situation before that happens."

Two years ago, labor groups backed a successful Arizona ballot measure to establish the state's minimum wage.

Doug Ramsey/Elizabeth Grattan, Public News Service - AZ