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3 Florida Construction Defect Laws Contractors Need to Know

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As a Florida contractor, your vast knowledge in the construction industry covers materials, labor, equipment, and many other details necessary to successfully complete the project. However, you may be somewhat lacking in the minute details contained in Florida’s construction defects statute, associated regulations, and procedural rules – and this is understandable. Given all the roles and responsibilities you take on to run your business, it is tough to have in-depth knowledge in these matters without a legal background.

Still, having a basic familiarity about a few construction defect laws can give you an edge when faced with property owner complaints or disputes. Your Florida defective construction claim lawyer will take the lead regarding the details, but it is to your advantage to understand how three in particular can affect your interests.

  1. Statute of Limitations: Any court case is subject to time restrictions, from personal injury lawsuits and medical malpractice actions to contractual claims. In the construction industry, various players will prepare written agreements, so the basis for many lawsuits is breach of contract. Under Florida law, you have four years to file a case in court when the parties’ obligations are founded on a contract for improvement of real estate. If you fail to initiate litigation within a time frame, you are forever barred from pursuing a breach of contract action.

The law covers cases where a party is seeking monetary damages for financial loss, but it also applies to equitable remedies – such as specific performance or rescission. However, the remedies for payment bonds on public construction bonds are provided in another statute. 

  1. Statute of Repose: In some situations, a construction defect is not readily apparent and the property owner will not discover it within the statute of limitations timeline. Florida has established a statute of repose to govern such circumstances. Instead of a four-year limitation, parties have up to 10 years to file a lawsuit under the statute of repose. The clock starts ticking upon the latest of:
  • The owner taking possession;
  • Officials issuing a certificate of occupancy;
  • Abandoning of construction efforts; or,
  • The termination of the contract between a contractor or designer and that person’s employer. 
  1. Notice and Opportunity to Repair: A property owner can only initiate a construction defects lawsuit after complying with Florida’s statute, which requires that the contractor be allowed time to fix problems. Before property owners sue, they must serve a written notice upon the contractor – at least 60 days in advance for most projects and 120 in advance for associations of 20 or more parcels. There are additional dates and deadlines listed depending on the circumstances of the project.

Trust Your Florida Construction Law Attorney for the Legal Details

While this description may cover the basics on the three Florida construction defect laws contractors need to know, there are many additional concepts you should entrust to an experienced construction law attorney. At Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A., our team is prepared to protect your interests in a dispute over defects, so please contact our offices to schedule a consultation.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0500-0599/0558/0558ContentsIndex.html&StatuteYear=2020&Title=%2D%3E2020%2D%3EChapter%20558

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