Finding out that your new home has a defect can be disappointing, to say the least. With so many processes in place to see that the construction process comes off without a hitch, it can be surprising to find out that a major error or defect escaped the notice of your contractor, subcontractors, and multiple inspectors. All too often though, this is the case, with some defects lying almost dormant, and sometimes for very long periods of time.

That drip-drop of water coming from the corner of a ceiling or a plumbing system may sound deceptively benign, in all too many cases. Unfortunately, water intrusion in a new construction usually points to a defect, and one that will have to be targeted and repaired to avoid greater damage to the rest of the structure. Flooring, paint, walls, ceilings, and more are in potential danger from any water leaks, whether coming from the top or bottom of the home—and if the roofing system is defective, there is also the chance of enormous damage to the attic and any mechanical components that may be housed there—along with the opportunity for toxic mold to begin growing and threaten the health of everyone living in the home.

Other serious defects may arise also, from issues with the structure or the foundation, threatening the integrity of the home, to that of drainage and gutter systems. Electrical and mechanical systems found to be defective must be repaired as quickly as possible too, due to the potential for fire and other safety hazards. This is usually considered the responsibility of the contractor, and even if you are so fired up over the issue that you want to file suit immediately or have someone else fix it, there are pre-litigation procedures that must be followed per Senate Bill 800—also known as the ‘right to repair bill.’

Once you or your construction defect attorney have alerted the contractor about the defect via certified mail or personal delivery, they have 30 days to respond. After they have inspected the defect, the contractor then has 30 days to offer a written offer to repair, to the homeowner. This should outline compensation for damages, timeframe for repairs, and contact information for everyone who will work on the project.

The homeowner has 30 days to accept or reject the contractor’s offer. Should they proceed forward, the repair should take no longer than 120 days. If the repair is not considered sufficient by the homeowner, they may then move to attend mediation—or go ahead and file suit.

Construction defect law can be complex, so if you suspect one in your home, consult with an experienced attorney such as Scott D. Levine, APC, who will be able to help you in further examining and identifying defects, as well as advising you in the pre-litigation process and more.

Scott Levine has litigated against builders, developers, and subcontractors regarding defects in homeowner associations, tract homes, custom home, and mid- to high-rise buildings. If your property has issues associated with construction defects, it is important to take immediate action. We will listen to your needs and then fight to get the desired results, while protecting your legal rights. Please call us at (213) 880-4585 or contact us by email at [email protected].