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Arizona statute of limitations affects construction disputes

A new homeowner may move into his or her Arizona home with excitement and anticipation about what the future holds. After what may have been an extended waiting period while a home was under construction or being renovated, the very fact that a home is ready to be lived in can be exciting. Unfortunately, however, over time, issues may arise with a home and it may become obvious that a contractor did not perform his or her end of the bargain, which may give rise to a construction dispute.

A homeowner who finds him or herself facing potential construction litigation should know that Arizona imposes a statute of limitations which restricts the amount of time a homeowner has to bring a claim against a contractor or other builder. Claims involving implied warranties of fitness, workmanship, or habitability, as well as claims under implied warranty stemming from the contract or due to the construction, are covered by the statute of limitations.

A homeowner has eight years from the date of a project's substantial completion to file a suit based on a contract with a contractor or other person involved in the improvement of real property. A project is substantially completed for purposes of the statute when either it is first used by the occupant or owner, it is first available for use after completion according to the contract, or after final inspection by the governmental body which issued the relevant building permit.

An exception to the statute of limitations period exists, however, such as when a latent defect was not discovered until the eighth year, or an injury to the real property occurred during the eighth year. In such cases, a homeowner may bring a suit within one year after the discovery of the defect or injury, but not more than nine years after the project's substantial completion.

A homeowner who has concerns regarding the construction of his or her home may wish to seek prompt legal counsel, as failure to pursue claims in a timely manner can mean that a homeowner forfeits a claim entirely.

Source: Arizona Legislature, "A.R.S. 12-552," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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