Construction Defect Claims for Mold Issues
Moving into a new house carries with it high expectations and excitement. However, some new home owners must deal with the unfortunate issue of construction defects, which temper these expectations and excitement. Instead of euphoria, the presence of a construction defect will bring up images of anger and frustration. Initially, anger is against the homebuilder for his/her actions which led to the construction defect. Subsequently, anger turns to frustration, as the homeowner realizes that the defect needs to be fixed, a process which will cost money. In this situation, retaining the services of an experienced construction defects attorney is the best way to recover costs associated with necessary corrective repairs. One issue that oftentimes arises in construction defect claims is the matter of mold, as is illustrated in this instance in which a student housing complex near Louisiana State University was plagued with mold infestation.
Florida’s Construction Defects Law
To understand how mold claims are remedied, it is helpful to first learn about the construction defect process in Florida. In an effort to prevent frivolous lawsuits, the Florida Legislature enacted a law which provides for a means to settle a legal claim prior to filing a lawsuit. Under Chapter 558 of Florida law, prior to filing a lawsuit alleging a construction defect, the property owner must serve a notice of the construction defect claim to the contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or design professional whom the owner asserts is responsible for the defect, and allow that entity an opportunity to resolve the claim. This aspect of construction defect law is very nuanced and complex, and an attorney with experience in this particular aspect of construction law can be the difference in having a claim dismissed for failing to follow every minute detail of the law.
The Presence of Mold
In the strictest sense, the presence of mold is not really a construction defect. However, the presence of mold may be the symptom of the damage caused by a construction defect. Thus, mold can serve to highlight a construction defect. Most obviously, mold, which is caused by moisture or water intrusion into a space in which air circulation is limited or nonexistent, will indicate that the construction has some problem.
Consequently, the presence of mold may be evidence of a slow plumbing leak inside the walls or under the slab of a house. Alternatively, mold on the outside of a sheet rock (or plaster) wall may indicate that there is a greater amount of mold on the inside of the wall. In either case, the mold must be eliminated, as it poses a danger to the health of the house’s residents.
In the cases in which the presence of mold solely exists due to improper or defective construction conditions which resulted in the moisture or water intrusion, the homeowner may have a viable claim for recovery against the contractor or other entity responsible for the defect, which if successful, could result in the contractor directing fixing the problem, or receiving a judgment for the amount of repairs needed to eliminate the hazard.
It is important to understand that any resultant health problems may permit the injured individual to institute a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible entity as well. An attorney can advise a homeowner with mold issues on all the available bases to receive compensation.
Seek Legal Advice
If you have noticed mold in a newly constructed building, and are curious whether the contractor can be held responsible, contact an experienced construction law attorney as soon as possible. The Florida defective construction attorneys at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. handle all areas of construction law, including claims against a builder due to the presence of mold. We have the ability and experience to work with your particular circumstances and help you achieve the end result that you need. Let us use our experience to help you obtain the best possible solution. Contact our office today.