Featured News 2013 New Home Defects: Can you Hold your Builder Responsible?

New Home Defects: Can you Hold your Builder Responsible?

When you buy a new home, it automatically comes with a certificate of occupancy. This is a document which proves that your home was inspected by a local board and deemed a livable property. The inspection is supposed to detect any defects that may be present within the house. For example, if a roof was not built properly, there were cracks in the foundation of the home, or there were dangerous electrical sources that sparked when you tried to turn them on, these would all be issues that would cause a home to fail the inspection. When the house fails the inspection, it automatically means that the house is not livable until all listed issues are fixed. The certificate of occupancy may deem a house livable, but inspectors may fail to note very important defects. If the house is not in working order, or parts of the building process were never completed, then you may want to discuss this with a real estate attorney.

Sometimes, defects are covered by a Builder' Warranty. This is a warranty which is given to the buyer of the home by the builder and is often a limited warranty. This document means that builders will repair or pay damages for any issues with the home. Sometimes there are damages that may not show up until a certain season. For example, until it rains, you may not realize that water seeps into the basement of your home. As well, until you have been in the home for a significant amount of time you may not know that the rain produces mudslides which can get in under the foundation or that the attic has a mold problem.

If you are wondering whether or not you have a builder's warranty, you should look in your sales contract. If it is not listed there, recall whether or not you received a separate document that might have acted as one of these warranties. Normally these warranties are broken up into one, two, and ten year warranties for different issues that may happen regarding the home. You most likely have a one-year warranty that has to do with labor and materials and a two year warrantee for a protection from any mechanical defects. These are things like plumbing problems, electrical mistakes, or a ventilation system issue. Also, if the heat or air in the home doesn't work this is normally under the two-year contract. The ten year contract typically has to do with structural defects such as a poor foundation or rotting wood.

Admittedly, the housing defects that are most common are those that are only covered under the one-year contract. These are things like roofing issues, tiling or carpeting mistakes, or paint issues. If you discover a mistake that you believe should be fixed free of charge, but the warranty has expired, a real estate attorney may be able to help in this situation. You will want to read your warranty carefully and pay special attention to what responsibilities you are required to uphold. Most of the time, you will not be able to seek reimbursement for any accidents that happened because you abused the home or you neglected to care for something that needed caring for. As well, if there was a deterioration of a construction material within a certain bracket then chances are that it won't be reimbursed. This concerns things like a door that was warped because of the weather.

Any damages by outsiders such as vandals or animals will not typically be covered, or any damages that occurred because you hired people to work on the property for you. In addition to this, if you have to move out while repairs are made to the home, chances are that you will need to pay for the costs of relocating yourself. Any hotel bills and eating out should not be covered. Any appliances in your home that don't work probably aren't covered under the builder's warranty as well. Instead, you will want to contact the appliance maker and see if there is a warranty on the specific product. If you believe that you qualify for reimbursement and weren't given the money that you deserved, and then contact an attorney today for more information. A real estate lawyer near you will have the expertise and knowledge to assess you situation and then give you an informed opinion about what you should do. If you need to litigate against your builder, then a local lawyer may be able to represent you in this endeavor!

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