Fair Play The Senate passed a bankruptcy bill that reaches an evenhanded balance between the rights of tenants and the rights of property owners. The bill, which is expected to be passed by the House and signed by President Bush soon, would stop delinquent tenants facing eviction from abusing the current law. That law allows them to file for bankruptcy, triggering an automatic stay that requires property owners to discontinue eviction proceedings. These tenants thus can stay in a rental property without paying rent for months until a bankruptcy judge lifts the stay.

The bill outlines a clear procedure for a quick resolution in federal bankruptcy court for such cases. Additionally, the bill says that homeowners who file for bankruptcy within 40 months of purchasing a home would be able to protect no more than $125,000 of home equity from creditors.

Easy Access HUD is endorsing the International Building Code (IBC) 2003 edition, recognizing it as a safe harbor for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act. HUD's decision to acknowledge the IBC and incorporate its guidelines into state and local building codes helps to assure compliance with accessibility requirements and increase the amount of accessible multifamily housing available.

Five years ago, the NAHB led an initiative that resulted in HUD's initial support of the IBC as a vehicle for federal accessibility compliance. Before that, building codes did not fully include such guidelines. “The NAHB is very pleased to have been able to help close this critical gap,” says NAHB executive vice president and CEO Jerry Howard.

HUD's decision is a triumph for both the disabled community and multifamily builders.

All Access A new Web site gives home builders unparalleled access to NAHB green building resources. The site (www. HGTVPro.com)is part of the Scripps Network, developer of HGTV and the Food Network. It will feature a series of some 30 NAHB–produced educational videos that focus on the best practices in green home construction as well as the first home built according to the NAHB's new Model Green Home Building Guidelines. The Web site also provides informational articles and a free e-newsletter.

Builders, remodelers, and contractors should find the site helpful. It includes professional-level best practices, new product information, and an insider's perspective on industry trends. HGTVPro and the NAHB believe that the Web site will increase interest in green building and the technologies that reduce construction's effect on the environment. Most information will be delivered in both video and downloadable print formats.

Energy Efficient Energy cost savings touted in changes to the residential energy requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) would take as many as 40 to 90 years to materialize, according to a recent Department of Energy (DOE) report.

The changes inch up code requirements for insulation in wood-framed walls and will add at least $600 to the cost of an average new home while saving approximately $15 per year in energy costs. The modifications increase wall insulation requirements in all climate zones for all wood-framed construction.

The alterations began in late 2003 after DOE proposed major reforms to simplify compliance with the IECC. In 2004, the NAHB and others asked that DOE do a cost-benefit analysis on the changes because stakeholders weren't able to study them before they were approved. The NAHB will use the data to promote reforms during the next round of code hearings, and it will urge the IECC to adhere to DOE's original requirements.