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Tennessee General Assembly passes law targeting unscrupulous contractors

Representative Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville) and House Budget Subcommittee Chairman Harry Tindell (D-Knoxville) held a press conference in Knoxville today to discuss House Bill 2625, which aims to protect homeowners against unscrupulous contractors.

Prior to passage of the bill, contractors that left homeowners high and dry by taking payment but not completing work was only a civil offense, meaning that victims could only attempt to recoup losses through a lawsuit. The new law passed championed by Dunn and Tindell, however, treats the offense as theft, making it a criminal charge punishable by jail time. Targeted homeowner Mike Townsend joined the State Representatives in a press conference Wednesday to share his story.

“This law is designed to protect unsuspecting homeowners who are targeted by dishonest contractors,” explained Representative Dunn. “Most contractors are hard working business men and women, but there are numerous examples of what amounts to theft. Now, these criminals can be arrested for theft and potentially face jail time.”

“Our hope is that this law will deter these types of crimes in the future,” added Chairman Tindell. “Before this law was passed, it was incumbent upon the homeowner to take the contractor to court and try to recoup losses which, unfortunately, was rare. Now homeowners have another avenue.”

Homeowner Mike Townsend hired a contractor to work on his Knoxville home in the spring of 2009 while gone on a mission trip. After being paid, the contractor neither completed the work nor returned the money. Townsend says the incident was devastating because of the trust extended to the contractor, and he does not want to see other homeowners targeted.

For more information, please visit http://state.tn.us/sos/acts/106/pub/pc1055.pdf.


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