Attorney Trey Wilson - RL Wilson Law

31 August 2008

FAQ - Home Registration with the TRCC

When did the home registration requirement begin?
Since January 1, 2004, the law has required all home builders and remodelers in Texas to register each qualifying home construction project with the commission.

What projects does the builder have to register?
The registered builder/remodeler must complete a Home Registration for: new homes; residential remodeling projects involving interior renovations exceeding $10,000; and, residential material improvements (a modification to the home that either increases or decreases the home's total square footage of living space and that also alters a perimeter wall, foundation or roof; e.g. room additions). For new homes built on the builder's lot, you must register and pay the fee no later than the 15th day of the following month in which the title transferred from builder to homeowner. If no title is transferred (e.g. home built on homeowner's lot or remodeling project), you must file the registration and pay the fee paid no later than the 15th day after: substantial completion of the project or upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or completion. You can register homes online.

What is the home registration fee?
The fee to register a home online is $25. If you use the paper registration form, it costs $40 per project. If your company registered more than 25 homes with the commission in the preceding calendar year, you must use the online registration system or file a waiver request in order to submit paper registration forms. You can pay the fee with cash, check, money order or credit card.

How long is the home registration process?
It can take up to 15 days, although online registration occurs overnight. The commission processes applications in the order received and there are no expedited methods of registration.

Are any residential construction projects exempt from home registration?
A home built by an individual (either alone or with the help of the individual's employees or independent contractors) and used as the primary residence for at least one year after completion or substantial completion of construction is exempt from registration. Home improvement projects that do not change the square footage of the home's living space or an interior renovation that does not exceed $10,000 during a 12-month period are also exempt. Please note that the $10,000 threshold only applies to interior renovations, not material improvement projects.

Why do builders have to register their projects?
The law requires that builders register all qualified projects. Registration helps to identify newly constructed homes and remodel projects that are subject to the inspection process and that fall under limited statutory warranty and building and performance standards. The limited statutory warranty and building and performance standards apply to construction started after June 1, 2005.

How will the TRCC enforce the home registration process?The commission has the authority to levy severe penalties against builders or remodelers who fail to register a home. Sanctions can range from disciplinary actions, such as a reprimand, a suspension or revocation of a builder or remodeler registration to administrative penalties, which can reach as high as $10,000 per violation.

Can a person building his/her own home register the home without registering as a builder?Individuals who build their own home and plan to live there for at least one year do not have to register as a builder and do not have to register their home. That home also is exempt from the state-sponsored inspection and dispute resolution process. If the owner sells the home within ten years of completion, you must disclose in the contract that the home or project is not subject to the minimum statutory warranties and performance standards.

Does the commission ever refund registration fees?

The commission only refunds registration fees that involve commission errors/typos. According to policy, the commission generally does not issue refunds due to builder/remodeler registration errors. Refunds may take up to six weeks to process.

What types of home construction projects require registration?
Builders/remodelers must register all single family homes, duplexes, certain townhomes and qualifying residential remodeling projects.

What is the definition of a townhome?
A townhome is a single-family dwelling unit constructed in a group of three or more attached dwelling units in which each unit extends from foundation to roof and with open space on at least two sides not more than three stories in height with a separate means of ingress and egress.

Trey Wilson --Named By Scene in SA Magazine As One of San Antonio's Best Real Estate Litigation Attorneys -- September 2008 -- As voted on by peers