Jacksonville Legal Blog
A recent decision from Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal shut down an attempt by homeowners to circumvent the statute of limitations in a construction defect case. The homeowners argued that they were not bound by the statute, because the contractor responsible for the defect was not licensed. The court disagreed.
This reinforces the need for homeowners to take fast action upon the discovery of a window leak, roof leak, foundation problem or any other construction defect.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Construction Defects?
The statute of limitations, actually called the statute of repose in Florida, requires that construction defect claims be filed within four years of the latest of these events:
- The date the homeowner actually takes possession of the property
- The date a certificate of occupancy is issued
- The date of abandonment of construction, if not completed
- The date of completion of the contract or termination of the contract by the contractor, architect or engineer.
The statute also states that if the defect is latent, the four-year limit begins when the defect is discovered or when it should have been discovered. In latent defect cases, the claim cannot be filed more than 10 years after the latest of the events listed above.
The Statute Of Limitations Is Not The Only Reason To Move Quickly
Even though you have four years to file a construction defect claim, you should not wait. In fact, if you have any reason to believe that there may be defective construction in your home – such as the discovery of water intrusion, mold, cracks in the foundation, cracks in the wall or anything else – you should begin exploring your options immediately.
As time passes, companies may go out of business, change names or merge with other entities, making claims more challenging. Workers and other parties may move, making it difficult to track down key witnesses. Documents, records and other evidence that could prove critical may be thrown away. The building blocks of a successful case may disappear.
Of course, the most compelling reason to take action may be that waiting could prove costly, not only in terms of dollars, but in terms of your health. What was once a water intrusion issue could turn into a mold issue, for example, endangering the wellbeing of you and your family.
Talk To A Lawyer If You Suspect A Construction Defect
At Heekin, Malin & Wenzel, we offer free consultations. This is your opportunity to tell us about the defect or suspected defect and get insight from an attorney experienced in getting remedies such as repairs or compensation in construction defect claims.