Finding Defects in Your New Home

While buyers are drawn to new homes because there is an assumption that it won't be necessary to make any major repairs for a long time, home buyers can be disappointed when they discover that their new home has construction defects.

Under California Civil Code Section 896, there is a long list of construction defects that builders may be responsible for fixing. Fortunately, this means that you may be able to get your defects repaired without having to tap out your savings.

"Construction defect" refers to a defect in the design or workmanship in your home that reduces the value of the property. Some examples include:

  • Windows that allow water to pass through
  • Roofs or chimneys that allow water to enter the structure
  • Balconies that allow water to pass through the adjacent structure
  • Stucco that allows excessive condensation to enter the structure
  • Plumbing lines that leak
  • Sewage systems that leak
  • Foundations with cracks
  • Landscaping that lives less than one year

Section 897 states that the standards set forth in this chapter are intended to address "every function or component of a structure. " It says that if a function or component of a structure is not addressed by the standards, it shall be actionable if it causes damage.

Is there a time limit?

When it comes to new homes, for a defect to qualify as a construction defect, the law does require that such defect be discovered within a certain number of years from the date that the construction was completed, or from the close of escrow.

Depending on the particular defect and the circumstances, this time limit can be anywhere from one to ten years. Essentially, if you notice a defect and you believe something is wrong, don't delay.

Your best solution is to contact a construction law attorney right away. Otherwise, you could miss the deadline for filing a lawsuit and ultimately be responsible for the full cost of repairs, which can easily run in the thousands or even tens of thousands.

Don't Just Sit Back and Wait

Whatever you do, don't just sit back and watch as the damage goes from bad to worse. For example, if you have a roof leak, ignoring the problem can lead to structural damage and mold, which can be a major health hazard. Under California law, you are expected to take reasonable steps to protect your property from sustaining further damage.

If you file a lawsuit, your costs should be reimbursed through the lawsuit, providing you keep an accurate record of your expenditures.

If your property contains a construction defect, you should contact the Law Office of Steven R. Lovett as soon as possible. There are many issues you will need to consider, including the builder's warranty, hiring an inspector, documentation, and many other details, and he can help.

Attorney Lovett would be happy to discuss your situation over the phone for free. Please give us a call at (888) 577-1518 today! With over 30 years' experience, you can trust in his ability to represent you!

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