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Construction defects and developer warranties under Florida law, P.1

Previously, we mentioned that a condominium owner’s association in Celebration, Florida filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the property owner for alleged widespread defects, including structural issues, molding, and leaky roofs. Construction issues with condominiums are not uncommon, of course, but unit owners don’t always know what their rights are or what recourse is available to them until they consult an experienced attorney.

First of all, under Florida law condo associations—after control of the association has been obtained by unit owners other than the developer—do have the right to pursue litigation on behalf of all unit owners when the litigation concerns common interests of most or all unit owners. Such interests can include: the condition of the roof and structural components of a building; mechanical, electrical and plumbing issues; and the developer’s representations concerning existing or proposed common facilities. 

When it comes to condo defect claims against developers, it is important to understand that condo developers are obligated to unit buyers—and, by extension, to condo associations—by various warranties. One such warranty is that of fitness and merchantability. Under this statutorily recognized warranty, each condo unit—and any improvements made to the unit—is under warranty for three years beginning with the completion of the building containing the unit, or the improvements.

Personal property transferred with each unit is also under warranty for the same period provided by the manufacturer of each item. Condo roofs, structural components and improvements, as well as mechanical, electrical and plumbing common to more than one unit are also under warranty for three years after completion of construction, or one year after owners other than the developer obtain control of the associations, whichever occurs last. Several other warranties apply as well, and it is important for condo owners to be aware of them.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this topic, and how an experienced attorney can help condo owners affected by construction defects.

Sources:

Florida Statutes, Section 718.111

Florida Statutes, Section 718.203

Florida Statutes, Section 718.301

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