A storm that began on the evening of April 29th, 2014 has caused widespread devastation throughout the panhandle, as unprecedented flooding and a deadly explosion follow the heaviest rainfall in a single day since the late 1800s. In some areas, two feet of rain fell in a single 24-hour period, with Pensacola being hit the hardest.
As residents of the Panhandle try and pick up to pieces, and assess the damage, the storm has revealed that many homes have been severely damaged due to defects that exist in the way the home was built.
Florida law allows a homeowner to recover damages based on the defective construction of the home. Here is an outline of the procedure that you need to follow to recover damages. For a more details and help, contact us at (800) 848-6168.
Construct Defect Claims Procedure
Before a homeowner can bring a claim against their builder for defective construction, they first must provide the builder with written notification of the alleged defects at least 60 days before filing a lawsuit, describing that defect. Within 30 days after service of the notice of claim, the contractor has the right to inspect the dwelling. The inspection may include “destructive testing” by mutual agreement.
Within 10 days of receiving notice of the claim, the contractor must forward a copy of it to any other person (i.e., subcontractor, supplier, or design professional) that the contractor believes is responsible for the defect. Those secondary recipients may also inspect the dwelling in the same manner within five business days after receipt of the notice; they may issue a written response to the contractor to either repair the defect or dispute the claim.
Within 25 days of receiving the notice, the contractor must serve a written response to the claimant. That response must either:
- include a written offer to repair the alleged defect at no cost to the claimant
- include a written offer to compromise the claim by monetary payment within 30 days
- dispute the claim
If the contractor offers to repair or compromise the claim by monetary payment, the claimant has 15 days (or, in the case of a homeowner association, 45 days) to accept or reject the offer. If the claimant accepts the offer and repair or payment is made, the claimant is thereafter barred from pursuing relief through litigation.
If the claimant rejects the offer, it must be done by written notice containing the text of the offer with the word “rejected” printed on it. Significantly, the claimant’s failure to reject an offer in strict accordance with this procedure constitutes an acceptance of the offer, whereas no such penalties exist for a contractor’s failure to comply with any of these procedures.
After a homeowner chooses to reject the offer, they can file a lawsuit against their contractor based on the implied warranty of habitability. The process is complex and should be handled by experts.
If you or a loved one suffered damage to your home in the recent flooding because of a construction defect that exists in the way your home was built, call us today – (800) 848-6168