Consumer Complaint Procedures
Role and Authority of the Home Builders Licensure Board Regarding Consumer Complaint:
The Board can take disciplinary action against a licensee by proving that the licensee has violated the law governing the practice of residential home building. The Board CANNOT discipline a licensee for issues such as poor workmanship, cosmetic issues, or contractual disputes.
The Board CAN discipline a licensee by:
- reprimanding the licensee;
- imposing a fine against the licensee that is paid to the Board;
- suspending the license of a licensee for a period of time;
- revoking the license of a licensee; and,
- requiring the licensee to attend builder education class(es).
The Board CANNOT:
Consumer Complaint Procedure
- order a licensee to return to a residence to take corrective action;
- order a homeowner to allow a licensee to return to the residence to take corrective action;
- establish monetary damages in favor of or against a homeowner or licensee;
- order a licensee to reimburse a homeowner for faulty construction work; or
- order a homeowner to pay a licensee for work performed.
ONLY an original homeowner may file a consumer complaint against a licensee of the Board.
The consumer complaint must be filed with the Board within six (6) years of substantial completion of construction of the residence, or within six (6) years of the date the original homeowner took possession of the residence.
The Consumer Complaint Process
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- Your completed consumer complaint form and supporting documentation will be reviewed upon receipt by the Board. If the complaint falls within the scope of statutory responsibility and authority of the Board, a file will be opened.
- The Board will notify the homeowner and the licensee of the investigation. The licensee will be provided a copy of the consumer complaint and supporting documentation. The licensee will be directed to file a written response to the consumer complaint with the Board, and will be given twenty (20) days within which to contact the homeowner to try to resolve the issues.
- At the end of the twenty (20) day period, if the licensee has not contacted the homeowner, the homeowner must notify the Board and an investigation into the complaint will begin. An investigator will contact the homeowner, the licensee, and other necessary persons. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will submit a report to the Board's Investigative Committee.
- The Board's Investigative Committee will review the consumer complaint file to determine whether probable cause exists that a violation of the homebuilder's law has occurred. If the investigative committee determines that no probable cause exists, the consumer complaint file will be closed and the homeowner and the licensee will be notified.
- If the Investigative Committee determines that probable cause exists, it will recommend that the Board initiate a disciplinary proceeding. The Board will direct that a summons and complaint be served on the licensee and that the case be set for a disciplinary hearing. The homeowner will be notified of the time and date of the hearing and will be requested to appear and testify at the disciplinary hearing as a witness for the Board.
- The Board has the authority to settle any case it brings against a licensee. If the Board and the licensee reach a settlement of the case, a written settlement agreement will be executed. The homeowner will be notified that a settlement agreement has been reached and that the hearing will not be held.
- If no settlement is reached, the disciplinary hearing is held before a hearing officer. Disciplinary hearings are closed to the public. A court reporter is present to record the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing. After the hearing, the hearing officer will file a recommendation with the Board. The Board will review the record of the proceedings and the recommendation of the hearing officer. The Board has the authority to adopt, modify, or reject the recommendation of the hearing officer. The Board will issue a written final order, reciting the discipline imposed against the licensee.
- The licensee may appeal a final order of the Board to the circuit court of the county within which the licensee resides or, if the licensee is not an Alabama resident, to the Circuit Court of Montgomery County. The licensee must file a notice of appeal with the Board within thirty (30) days of receipt by the licensee of the Board's final order and must file a petition for judicial review in the appropriate court within thirty (30) days after filing the notice of appeal with the Board.
Upon written request, a consumer is entitled to receive a copy of an administrative complaint, orders to show cause, notices of hearings and statements of charges, and all amendments thereto, and all orders of the Board.
An investigative file is confidential, is not public record, and is not available for court subpoena or for discovery in civil proceedings. Disciplinary action proceedings are closed. The record in a disciplinary action proceeding is confidential, is not public record, and is not available for court subpoena or discovery in civil proceedings.