Most home owner invest a large amount of money while purchasing their home and they expect that the home will be of the highest quality conforming to the stringent regulations for construction.
However, sometimes soon after they move into the home, they realize that there is a construction defect which makes it unsafe or inconvenient for them to live in the home or reduces the home value. In other cases the construction defect may be obvious a few years after they have lived in the home. Since the home owner will usually have to spend an additional amount on repairs and there is a decline in home value, they will often seek to get compensation for the losses caused by defective construction (and rightfully so).
Buying a home is expensive, especially in Los Angeles, so it’s always in their best interest to try to recover the value lost through negligence or any other fault of the contractor (or other stakeholders to the project). Construction defect, however, is still a pretty obscure legal area that many individuals (even attorneys) are unfamiliar with.
Because of this, there are bound to be some questions asked when seeking to pursue a legal case which is why we’ve brought in an expert in Los Angeles construction defect litigation to help us answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What are the most common construction defects?
Home owners will usually initiate legal action against the builder or contractor for construction defects like cracks in the wall, floor, ceiling, roof, foundation, structural damage or failure, faulty drainage, leakage or seepage, electrical, plumbing, heating related, landscaping problems.
Who is responsible for the construction defect?
Though a large number of people are involved in the construction of the home, the overall responsibility for the construction defect will be the builder or contractor for constructing the home. The builder may have subcontracted part of the work to different professionals like the architect, engineer, interior designer, site supervisor, laborers, and based on the kind of defect, one of the more of the subcontractors may also be named as defendants in the construction defect lawsuit.
What is the cause of a construction defect?
There are a number of factors which can cause a construction defect ranging from design, workmanship related problems, use of poor quality materials. Some of the problems include improper site selection, planning, improper preparation after soil analysis, errors in structural and civil engineering, negligence during construction and using building materials which are defective.
What is the procedure for proving the construction defect?
The procedure for proving the construction defect depends to some extent on the kind of defect. Some of the defects are immediately obvious,and are called patent defects, while others become obvious after a few years or more, and are called latent defects. For proving the construction defect in court the lawyer will use the testimony of experts who specialize in the related field of construction. The expert will investigate the construction defect to find the cause and also determine, how it can be fixed, the cost required to repair
What kind of compensation which the property owner is eligible for?
Though the compensation which the home owner will get depends on the particular case, usually the reduction in the home value, and repair cost will be paid as compensation. Other damages which may be paid include the rental expenses when the home is being repaired, legal expenses and personal injury compensation if applicable.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a construction defects lawsuit?
The time limits for filing a lawsuit for construction defects, called the statute of limitation, will vary greatly based on the state in which the property is located. Usually a case has to be filed within 10 years of the construction of the property, three years after the property owner has discovered that there are construction defects caused by negligence. There is also a limit of four years from the time the home owner discovered the breach in the contract. The time limit also varies depending on whether it is patent or latent defect. However, it is recommended that the property owner takes action immediately after the defect is detected.
In Los Angeles, and other cities in California, the statute of limitations is 10 years from the date of substantial completion, with a few other nuances that can be observed here.
Who will pay the damages?
Usually the contractor or builder will pay the damages, through their insurance company, and in some cases, the subcontractor may also pay the damages.
Can the homeowner make repairs when the lawsuit is pending?
Usually the homeowner is allowed to make repairs to the home though the lawsuit is pending, since failure to do so can result in additional damage
How much time does it take for the lawsuit to get resolved.
Typically in some states, it will come to trial two or three years after the case is filed. However in some cases, the matter may be resolved earlier, through mediation or arbitration, which may result in a settlement which is acceptable to the homeowner and builder.