Recently, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a critical statute that profoundly reshapes the landscape of construction defect cases. This reform notably modifies the time frame during which homeowners can bring forth claims against contractors, effectively trimming the period from the earlier duration of ten years down to just seven.
This law modification comes into effect on July 1, 2024, and it carries significant implications for homeowners across the state, especially those residing in properties aged between six to ten years. If you suspect any construction defects in your home within this age range, it is absolutely imperative to consult with an attorney at the earliest possible juncture.
What This Means for Florida Homeowners
The newly signed statute by Governor DeSantis that reduces the window for construction defect claims from ten years to seven years holds several implications for Florida homeowners.
The new statute of limitations demands quicker action from homeowners. If you suspect a construction defect, you now have three fewer years to file a claim against the responsible parties, such as contractors or builders. This encourages vigilance and swift action in order to protect your rights.
Increased Urgency for Older Homes
For homes that are between six and ten years old, the urgency to inspect for potential defects and consult with an attorney is heightened. Under the new law, the ability to file a claim may soon expire.
Potential Financial Impact
If a defect is detected after the seven-year limit, the financial burden of repair may fall onto homeowners, even if the problem originated from poor workmanship or faulty materials. This could potentially result in increased out-of-pocket expenses for homeowners.
Possible Increase in Legal Consultations and Litigation
The reduced timeframe may lead to an increase in legal consultations and potentially litigation, as homeowners rush to file claims within the stipulated time limit.
Importance of Expert Legal Counsel
The shortened timeframe underscores the importance of expert legal guidance. A construction defect lawyer can help navigate these changes and ensure homeowners understand their rights under the new law.
Contact WRZ Law Today
This legislative change calls for heightened awareness among homeowners and an urgency to address potential defects promptly. Consulting with a construction defect lawyer as soon as possible is essential to understanding how this new law may affect individual circumstances, and to take necessary action within the new seven-year statute of limitations. Contact us today to get started.
Common Construction Defects for Florida Homes
As a state known for its varying weather conditions, from scorching summers to hurricane seasons, Florida homes are susceptible to a number of construction defects. These defects can result from a combination of factors such as poor design, inferior workmanship, use of substandard materials, and more. Let’s look at some common construction defects found in Florida homes:
Water damage is one of the most common and damaging defects. This can result from poor sealing, improper installation of windows and doors, roof leaks, or inadequate waterproofing of foundations and walls. Over time, water intrusion can lead to other issues such as mold, decay, and structural damage.
Soil conditions in Florida can lead to foundation issues. Problems can include cracking, sinking, or shifting of the foundation, often resulting from poor soil preparation, inadequate drainage, or the use of substandard materials.
Cracking, blistering, or peeling of stucco is common in Florida homes, often due to incorrect application or poor workmanship. These defects can lead to water intrusion, resulting in structural damage and mold.
Given Florida’s propensity for hurricanes and heavy rainfall, improperly installed or poorly maintained roofs are a significant concern. Defects can include leaks, inadequate fastening, poor flashing, or incorrect installation of roofing materials, which can lead to water damage and structural issues.
Mold and Mildew
High humidity levels combined with construction defects that allow water intrusion can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. This not only damages the property but can also pose serious health risks to inhabitants.
Inadequate or faulty HVAC systems can result in poor ventilation, imbalanced temperatures, or high energy costs. In Florida’s heat, a well-functioning HVAC system is crucial.
Electrical and Plumbing Defects
These can range from faulty wiring to leaky pipes, both of which can pose safety risks and cause substantial damage over time.
Window and Door Defects
Incorrectly installed or poorly sealed windows and doors can let in water and wind, especially during Florida’s severe weather conditions. These can lead to additional structural damage and high energy costs.
If you suspect your home has a construction defect, it’s important to consult with a construction defect lawyer to understand your rights and options. Given the recent legislative changes in Florida, it is crucial to take action promptly to protect your interests.
How a Construction Defect Lawyer at WRZ Law Can Help
A construction defect lawyer can play a pivotal role in helping homeowners deal with defects and damages arising from construction issues. Here’s how we can assist:
Expert Analysis and Case Evaluation
A construction defect lawyer can help identify and analyze the nature and extent of the defect. We will assess whether the defect is actionable and guide homeowners through the complexities of construction law.
Negotiating with Contractors
A Construction defect lawyer at WRZ Law can negotiate with contractors and their insurers on behalf of homeowners, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome without resorting to litigation. This may include getting the contractor to repair the defect, or provide compensation for the cost of repairs and other damages.
Expert Witness Coordination
If litigation becomes necessary, an experienced construction defect lawyer can help homeowners find and coordinate with expert witnesses. These experts can provide testimony regarding the existence and cause of the defect, the cost of repairs, and any resulting decrease in the property’s value.
In the event a case goes to court, a construction defect lawyer will provide legal representation, ensuring homeowners’ rights are fully protected. We will prepare and present the case, aiming to secure the most favorable judgment possible.
Understanding Legal Changes
Legislation related to construction defects can change, as we’ve recently seen in Florida with the reduction of the claim period from ten years to seven. A construction defect lawyer stays up-to-date with these changes and can advise homeowners accordingly, ensuring we take timely action to protect their rights.
Assessment of Other Potential Claims
A construction defect lawyer can also evaluate whether homeowners have additional potential claims. For instance, if a real estate agent failed to disclose known defects, homeowners might have a claim against the agent as well.
A construction defect lawyer in Florida provides homeowners with the legal expertise and guidance necessary to navigate the complex world of construction law. By advocating for homeowners’ rights, they help them receive the remedies they are entitled to, whether that’s repair, compensation, or both. Prompt action is key, so if you suspect a construction defect, it’s important to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Hire WRZ Law?
Our firm focuses primarily on stucco issues on wood-framed single-family homes. In the northern parts of the state, we frequently find that both one-story and two-story homes are wood framed. Through the middle of the state, many of the single-story homes are cement blocks and the second floors are wood framed. If you have any doubts, please contact us and we can help you determine whether your home qualifies. We will, of course, review other possible defects and do have several cases with other issues currently pending. Regardless of your issue, please contact us and let us help you. Whatever you do, DO NOT DELAY. Contact us now for a free consultation.
1. What constitutes a construction defect?
A construction defect is a deficiency in the design, materials, workmanship, or infrastructure of a building or home that leads to damage or failure of some component of the property. This could include issues such as water intrusion, foundation and structural problems, stucco defects, faulty roofing, mold and mildew growth, HVAC issues, and problems with electrical and plumbing systems.
2. How long do I have to file a construction defect claim in Florida?
As of July 1, 2024, the law in Florida allows homeowners to file a claim within seven years of discovering the defect. This is a reduction from the previous timeframe of ten years.
3. How can a construction defect lawyer help me?
A construction defect lawyer can provide expert legal guidance, negotiate with contractors and their insurers, coordinate with expert witnesses, and represent you in court if necessary. They stay updated with changes in legislation and can advise you on the best course of action to protect your rights and interests.
4. What kind of damages can I recover in a construction defect claim?
Typically, you can recover the cost of repairs and any decrease in the property’s value due to the defect. In some cases, you may also be entitled to relocation expenses, court costs, attorney’s fees, and potentially even damages for emotional distress.
5. How much will it cost me to hire a construction defect lawyer?
Costs can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the lawyer’s fee structure. Some lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they charge a percentage of the recovered damages, while others may charge hourly rates or flat fees. It’s best to discuss this upfront during your initial consultation.
6. Can I sue the builder for construction defects even if I’m not the original owner of the property?
Yes, subsequent homeowners often have the same rights to sue for construction defects as the original purchaser. The key issue is to identify the defect and take legal action within the timeframe allowed under Florida law.
7. Can a construction defect case be resolved without going to court?
Yes, many construction defect cases are settled through negotiation or mediation without the need for a court trial. However, if a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved, your construction defect lawyer will be prepared to represent you in court.