The purchase of a newly constructed home should be a joyful experience in which you realize the dream of a house you planned and saved for. In most instance, this results in an excited move-in, and a happy ending where you and your family live comfortably in your home for many years to come. But sadly, for some, this is not the case. Instead, these homeowners find that their home has defects, issues and/or dangerous construction problems. When this happens, it's time to turn to the law to help you reclaim your dream.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Any new residential construction is initiated by contract. You and the builder enter into an agreement to build your new home. Your developer or contractor describes what they will be building for you and lays out the terms, payments and a range of specifics regarding the project. What's also included in many construction contracts is a clause addressing dispute resolution. This is specific language in your agreement that determines how you must proceed if a dispute arises between you and your contractor. Often, these clauses instruct you to turn to mediation or arbitration to resolve your conflict. Therefore, if you discover what you believe to be a construction defect, the existence of this type of clause means your options may be limited to one of these alternative dispute resolutions methods.
Breach of Contract and Breach of Expressed Warranty
As detailed above, your new home was most likely designed via contractual language. Once it is built, you may discover that some facet of the construction, design and/or materials have failed to meet with your expectations as described in your contract. This provides you with the legal opportunity to compel your builder to correct the defect. Arizona law provides your builder with the right to repair the defects in your home prior to the filing of a lawsuit. If your builder opts to fix the problem, you retain the right to receive sufficient scope and performance of the repair work. If you find the repair to be faulty or insufficient, you may still be able to pursue a legal claim against your builder.
Your contractor owes you the legal duty of habitability and workmanship in new construction. If he fails in this area and it causes a construction defect and economic damage to you, you may be able to file a negligence claim under the theory of Breach of Implied Warranty.
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors and Governing Statutes
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) regulates building contractors and subcontractors throughout the state. ROC has established standards for construction that all contractors must meet. And Arizona Statute 32-1154 identifies legal requirements in this area as well. If your builder fails to meet any of these standards, you may file a complaint with the ROC to force your contractor to correct the defect.
These are four common methods a homeowner may pursue to correct a construction defect in their Arizona home. There may be other options, based upon the specific circumstances of your individual case. The laws addressing construction defects are complex, and there are detailed time limitations. These claims are best handled by an experienced Arizona construction defect law attorney. Your lawyer will review your claim, your building contract, and any supporting documentation to help you pursue the best course of action to attain a satisfactory resolution.