Defects in New Construction
Owning a home is the ultimate American dream. Some, choose to purchase a recently-built home, referred to as “new construction.” When purchasing new construction, homeowners will typically have the ability to select various amenities in the home, such as cabinetry, hardware, fixtures, etc. Further, the homeowner will work with the builder to select these amenities, and the builder will, in turn, provide a warranty regarding their work. Usually, this relationship works well for both parties. However, when problems arise, and the builder becomes non-responsive, it is time to contact an attorney specializing in construction defects. Such is the case for numerous homeowners in a subdivision in Valrico, just east of Tampa. Homeowners in this subdivision have been dealing with flooring defects for some time now (although still within the builder’s warranty period), and, more recently, the builder has stopped returning their phone calls. A discussion of some legal options homeowners have to address construction defects will follow below.
Florida Law Regarding Construction Defects
Purchasers of new construction in Florida have a few options at their disposal to deal with any construction defects caused by the builder or via sloppy workmanship. When a home is purchased directly from a builder, one should expect that the home will be habitable, that everything works properly, and that the home is of similar quality as other properties. In other words, gone are the days of “buyer beware” – Florida, like many other states, provides buyers of newly-constructed homes with a promise (an implied warranty) from the builder that the home is habitable. Rather, the home must be constructed, and everything contained within must work, the way that one would reasonably expect, and builders who cut corners may be liable for these faults.
Although, as listed above, Florida law provides an implied warranty, to settle all doubt, some purchase contracts have a warranty clause written into them. An advantage of such a clause is it will typically delineate how long the builder will warrant the home and various other specifics, including what materials will be used. Typically, such a warranty will promise that the builder’s work will be defect-free and comply with all contract requirements. Further, the warranty provision should also establish a legal relationship (privity) between the purchaser and any sub-contractors the builder may contract with to provide services. An experienced construction attorney will ensure that the purchase contract is drafted carefully with homeowner’s best interests in mind, to ensure that, should a dispute arise, they will be enforceable. If an issue is not addressed in the purchase contract, success will depend, most likely, on the services of a mediator, or decision by an arbitrator or a court.
Notices and Deadlines
Finally, if one’s home does have a defect, in addition to the procedures set out in the contract to address this situation, which should be followed to avoid the loss of a legal remedy, there is also a notice requirement. Ostensibly to reduce lawsuits, Florida law requires that builders are entitled to a notice of, and an opportunity to fix, any defects prior to filing a lawsuit. An experienced construction law attorney will have the knowledge to help guide a homeowner through any potential pitfalls, so one’s ability to recover damages is not lost.
Moving in to your own home should be a joyous situation, and if problems in construction arise, you need an experienced construction defects attorney to get you the recovery you deserve. The attorneys at Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. have the knowledge necessary to advocate on your behalf so that you can enjoy your new home. Contact us today.